Thursday, March 29, 2007

Yehoshua 6

(A friend of mine started up a Nach Yomi program. While I'm not learning along with it, as I'm currently in the midst of a schedule of my own learning Nach on Shabbos* to complete it in a year, I volunteered to write some of the daily divrei torah for the program.)

Yehoshua perek 6 describes the conquest and destruction of the city of Yericho and its inhabitants, save the family of Rachav the businesswoman**. The entire city is declared to be cheirem to HaShem. All of the metal objects in the city are brought to the storehouse of HaShem, and the city is burned to the ground. Following the destruction of the city, Yehoshua adjures the nation, "Accursed be the man who arises and builds this city, Yericho; with his firstborn shall he lay its foundations and with his youngest shall he erect its doors." (And indeed, during the days of the wicked Ach'av, Chi'el of Beis-El built Yericho, and the curse befell his children - see Melachim I 16:34).

The gemara in Sanhedrin 113a states that the curse applies both to one who builds a city on the site of the original Yericho, even under a different name, and to one who builds a brand-new city and calls it Yericho (and the mefarshim say that the latter was the sin of Chi'el).

The Rambam in Moreh Nevuchim (3:50) explains that the reason for this curse is so that the ruins of Yericho will be an eternal reminder of their miraculous method of destruction.

The Malbim explains that the punishment of the builder fits his crime, in that one who violated Yehoshua's decree in order to build for himself an eternal monument will be punished by losing all of his children, who comprised his truest form of a monument. Abravanel provides a similar mida-k'neged-mida equation, explaining that because the builder rebuilt that which HaShem destroyed, HaShem will destroy that which the builder built, that is, his children.***

* There's no local halacha shiur that I'm giving up in order to keep up with the schedule, so there won't be a halachic issue with learning kesuvim on Shabbos even once I get to kesuvim in a few months - see Shabbos 116a and Rambam Hil. Shabbos 23:19.

** A nice way of incorporating both shitos as to her profession, innkeeper and prostitute.



At 3/29/2007 10:27 PM, Blogger Reb Chaim HaQoton said...

ע' פה

At 3/30/2007 12:05 AM, Blogger Josh M. said...

Please clarify specifically what you're referring to on that page.


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