(Numbers 21:1-24:18)

(Haftara: Jeremiah 34:8-22, 33:25,26)

1. [21:18] “When men fight and one hits the other…”  The aggressive person must pay for “embarrassment” when he hits someone. How do the judges decide how much to pay for embarrassment? Is a person more embarrassed when hit by a child or when hit by an older person?  Is a person more embarrassed when hit by an important person or when hit by an unimportant person? 

2. [21:18] “When men fight and one hits the other…”  The aggressive person must also pay for physical pain that he caused when he hit someone. There is no fixed amount. Every case is different. How do the judges decide how much he must pay for pain?

3. [21:28] “If one person’s ox injures the ox of another person, and it dies…”  When a person’s animal maliciously damages another’s animal, the owner of the animal pays for half of the damage the first 3 times. The Talmud offers two explanations of  the payment of half damages. One is that the owner should really pay full damages

because he should have watched the animal, and the Torah is being nice to him. The other explanation is that the owner really shouldn’t pay anything, because the animal had no history of damage. However, the Torah is being nice to the injured party, so the damager pays half. Which opinion do you agree with?

4. [23:5] “When you happen upon your enemy’s ox or donkey going astray, bring it back to him.” This person seems to be a neighbour. We are commanded to love our neighbours. How did this person become an enemy? Is there a type of enemy whom you would not help, or to whom you would not return lost articles?

5. [24:11]  “…and they saw God and they ate and drank.” Why would they eat and drink after seeing God? R. Bachya (1340) says that their joy when they saw God was like the joy of eating and drinking.  The Chizkuni (1240) says that they ate sacrifices to God. Which explanation do you like better?

Commentary

God wants people to serve Him in all ways and situations…A person might be  travelling and cannot pray or learn. He should serve God in other ways…because God wants to be served in all ways…Therefore a person may find himself  on the road or speaking to people, in order to serve God in that particular situation.

–R. Yisrael, Ba’al Shem Tov, 1700-1760, Ukraine.

This study page is dedicated to the memory of Gad Eliahu ben David and Kochava—Eli Zucker

And this study page is dedicated to the memory of Sarah Bella bat Yitzchak Kummer, Chaim Yosef Yechiel ben Eliyahu Kummer and Eliyahu and Margaret Kummer