Thursday, July 19, 2007


Avner replied to Doeg: “It is different regarding the prohibition against Ammonites and Moabites because the Scriptural text is explicitly stated regarding them [Devarim 23:5]: Because they did not greet you with bread and with water. It is customary for a man to greet travelers with bread and water, but it is not customary for a woman to greet them (the women were, therefore, excluded from the prohibition).”

The Gemora asks: Why are the female Ammonites and Moabites permitted if they should have brought out bread and water to the women?

The Gemora answers: In Bavel, they cited the following verse [Tehillim 45:14]: The very honor of a princess is within. In Eretz Yisroel, they cited the following verse [Breishis 18:9]: And they said to him, “Where is Sarah your wife?” He said: “Behold, she is in the tent.”

The Maharshal asks: Were the women from Ammon and Moab modest? It is written regarding them that they were promiscuous women? What is the justification for them not going out and greeting the Jews?

He explains that it was the modesty of the Jewish women that prevented the women from Ammon and Moab to greet them. The Jewish women remained in their tents, something they had learned from their Matriarch, Sarah.

It is interesting to note that the Chasam Sofer answers that the women from Moab were modest indeed. It was in fact customary even for them to remain inside. It was only after Bilaam’s failure to curse the Jewish people that Balak convinced them to go out and seduce the Jewish men.


Reb Dave said...

Its mashma from the first perek of gittin that kol kevuda does not apply when looking for work. It's in the sugya regarding the girls inhereitng first b/c the boys can go out to look for work. ( That sentence itself implies thhere is an inyan by work, but the sugya as a whole indicated otherwise).

David G. said...

How does the answer from E"Y solve the problem? The gemara was bothered by the fact that the women did not go out to greet the women and it proves that they it's modest to stay in the tent just as Sarah did. Maybe Sarah only stayed in the tent because all the guests were men! No other guests came that day so Sarah was in the tent waiting for women. How does this prove that Moav shouldn't have gone out to greet the Jewish women? If you learn like the Maharshal then the answer from E"Y makes sense.

Avromi said...

good pshat...thanks