Parshas Matos-Masei

כל דבר אשר יבא באש תעבירו באש...   לא:כג

The Ramban asks, why is it that this issue of hechsher keilim only arose now by milchemes Midyan?  Why wasn’t it addressed by the conquest of Sichon and Og, wherein there was quite a lot of spoils of war? The Gemara learns out from “batim m’lei’im kol tuv” that during war it is mutar to eat maachalos asuros.  The Rambam holds that this is true regarding any war being waged within enemy territory (“gvul Akum”), but only if they don’t have kosher food available to eat.  The Rambam puts this together with the din of yefas toar, that it is also a function of “lo dibrah Torah elah k’neged yeitzer hara”.  The Rambam also includes yayin nesech in this heter. The Ramban, though, argues on all three points.  He holds that the heter is only regarding kibush Eretz Yisrael.  It is even if they have kosher food; it is simply hutrah.  It is not “dibrah Torah k’neged yeitzer hara”; it is heter gamur.  Also, the heter does not apply to yayin nesech, since yayin nesech is not just non-kosher, but it also has a din of biur avodah zarah.

L’shitaso, the Ramban resolves his question.  Eretz Sichon v’Og did not have to be conquered now; it could have waited until l’asid lavoh.  However, inherently it is part of nachalas Eretz Yisrael.  Therefore, once Sichon and Og attacked, and it became necessary to conquer them and their land, it had a full-fledged din of kibush ha’Aretz.  Therefore, the heter of eating non-kosher food applied.  As such, there was no necessity to worry about blios either.  However, milchemes Midyan had nothing to do with kibush Eretz Yisrael – it is chutz la’Aretz - and the heter did not apply there.  That is why it was the very first time that they needed to deal with the dinim of hechsher keilim.

The Achronim ask on the Ramban, even though the heter of maachalos asuros applied in the war against Sichon and Og, why didn’t they have to be concerned for blios of yayin nesech, which the Ramban holds is not included in the heter?

This can be answered based on a comment of the He’emek Davar on parshas Masei regarding the pesukim that say, “for you are going to pass over the Yarden to [enter] Eretz Kenaan. And you will drive out all the dwellers of the land…and you shall destroy all of their temples of worship, and all of their metal idols you shall destroy, and all of their altars you shall eradicate (33:51-52).”  The He’emek Davar infers from these pesukim that the obligation of biur avodah zarah (to root out and destroy avodah zarah) only began when they entered Eretz Yisrael proper, but while they were still in Eiver Ha’Yarden, they did not yet have that obligation. The reason for this, explains the He’emek Davar, is that the kedusha of Eiver Ha’Yarden is dependent on the kedusha of Eretz Yisrael proper. Only later, when Eretz Yisrael proper became infused with kedusha, did Eiver Ha’Yarden also assume that status. According to this, there in fact was no obligation of biur avodah zarah by Milchemes Sichon v’Og, and therefore the question on the Ramban falls away.

(Related by Reb Avrohom Twersky)



Who doesn’t yearn for Mashiach to come?! All you have to do is just walk down the street to see how difficult Klal Yisrael’s situation is!”



“It was the three weeks once again, and, understandably, I wanted to put more effort into the parts of davening that talk about wanting the Geula and Mashiach to come. I wanted to connect to it more, but I was having trouble with it. ‘After all,’ I felt, so many generations of such great tzaddikim have gone by who truly yearned for the Geula with every fiber of their being, and they didn’t get what they so passionately begged for. So how can I connect with davening for something that I feel is so out of reach?’ Those were my feelings, and I brought them to Rav Twersky. His response was definitely not what I expected. He gave me a somewhat quizzical look and said, ‘Really? You find it difficult to daven for the Geula and Mashiach? That’s so interesting, because I find for myself that it’s much easier to daven for something that Klal Yisrael has been davening for, for so many centuries.’ Although I still grapple to understand exactly what Rav Twersky meant, just hearing that from him opened up a whole direction of thought for me that it is possible to connect to davening for something without feeling that you actually need to get it.” (A Talmid)