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DEUTERONOMY — 20:2 priest

DEUT974 Anoint a Kohen to instruct and encourage Jewish soldiers. Key concept: It is known that in wartime, soldiers need a large dose of encouragement and strengthening. It also is known that people are more apt to heed words said by someone who is important, honored and respected. Therefore, the Torah commands that before battle, the soldiers be encouraged and strengthened by words from a member of our nation's most honored family—the Kohanim. As to why the Torah exempt from the army he who planted a vineyard but has not yet redeemed its fruits, or is betrothed to marry but the wedding still is pending etc. the reason is that thoughts of these matters preoccupy one's mind. Men in these situations cannot fully concentrate on the battle. As a result, they are poor fighters and will weaken the hearts of their fellows. Similarly, if someone is fearful because he has committed a sin, it is best to send him away before the fighting starts, because if he stays, his fellows, too, may suffer punishment for his sin.


DEUTERONOMY — 33:1 blessed

DEUT1712 We are elevated when we find merit in others. The Midrash comments on this verse: "Whoever speaks out in defense of the Jewish people is elevated. We have proof from Moshe. Moshe was not called 'the man of God' until he spoke in defense of the Jewish people." (Moshe pointed out the loyalty of the Jewish people to God--see verses three and four and Rashi.) (Psikta D'Rav Kahane). Anyone can find fault with others. True greatness is to see the good points of others.


DEUTERONOMY — 33:1 man

DEUT1713 Although we should forgo pleasures ourselves, we should try to give others pleasure. The Midrash comments that Moshe's upper half was Godly; Moshe's lower half was human (Dvorim Rabbah 11). Rabbi Yisroel Salanter explain the Midrash in the following manner. For himself, Moshe was a spiritual being, but when it came to others, Moshe was human. The Talmud (Ksubos 17a) states that a person should mingle with others. He must understand the needs of others. But for himself, a person should have as few needs as possible. A person must have two sets of values, one for himself and one for others. As far as he is concerned, a person should shy away from honor. Nevertheless, he should bestow honor upon his fellow man. A person should forgo pleasure for himself, but he should try to give his fellow man as much pleasure as possible. A person should be humble, but he should never humble his fellow man. (Ohr Yisroel, p. 83). Rabbi Yosef Y. Hurwitz, Rosh Yeshiva of Nevardok, expressed a similar idea. Undue concern about money is a very bad characteristic. A person should go to the opposite extreme and not worry even if he suffers a financial loss. However, if you see someone's possession laying on the floor, you must go out of your way to prevent it from being damaged. You should lend others whatever you own and even allow them to use your belongings without permission. But you yourself should never use anything that belongs to someone else without explicit permission. (Madraigos Haodom, section chesbon tzedek, ch. 7)


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