Last week we talked about Elisha’s prophecy about the war of יהוֹרָם king of ישראל and יְהוֹשָׁפָט king of יהודה against מֵישַׁע king of מואב:
And how it violated the mitzvah of בל תשחית:
And the midrash said that this was not a הוראת שעה, but a specific halachic aspect of בל תשחית:
And I have to admit that the Rambam says I was wrong; Elisha’s command was a הוראת שעה of a נביא:
But either way, why is מואב so קַלָּה וּבְזוּיָה that it warrants (once or always) ecological devastation? The mitzvah about עמון and מואב is from this week’s parasha:
Now, אשר שכר עליך את בלעם is bad, but that was מואב, not עמון (and both are part of this exclusion); the other half of their sin, אשר לא קדמו אתכם בלחם ובמים, isn’t good, but it doesn’t sound that bad. But a lack of חסד means that they cannot be part of כנסת ישראל:
So I can understand לא יבא…בקהל ה׳; such people can’t marry in (and the exceptions, like רות, have to be paragons of חסד).
But this is much more severe than not marrying in: לא תדרש שלמם וטבתם. And it’s not a cultural genocide (ethnocide?) mitzvah like Amalek. It’s if you go to war, wipe out their environment.
This shiur is based on insight from Rav Medan. Where do עמון and מואב come from?
This sounds like a terrible thing, but the gemara calls it a עבירה לשמה, a sin for the sake of Heaven:
In other words, איש אין בארץ לבוא עלינו doesn’t mean, “there are no men left in the world”, but “there are no men for us”. We have to fulfill this idea of יבום, and no one will want to. We need to take matters into our own hands.
But יבום for what? What is יבום?
They are going to fulfill the mitzvah of spiritual יבום for all of סדום! They will make sure that סדום and עמורה are not forgotten: ולא ימחה שמו. It’s an amazing thought. And they succeed. That one city of צוער that was left of the ערי הככר became a major city of מואב. There were 5 cities:
And all of them would have been destroyed:
But צוער was saved. Moshe doesn’t list it when describing the destruction of סדום:
It survived because Lot prayed for it:
And what happens to צוער? It is where מואב settles:
עמון and מואב are the spiritual heirs, the בני יבום, of סדום and עמורה. Why were סדום and עמורה destroyed?
סדום was defined as a society that actively suppressed גמילות חסדים:
Moav and Ammon were the descendants of Lot, who was an adopted son of both Abraham and of סדום . They had a choice to make. They could redeem סדום and be paragons of חסד or continue in סדום's path of רעים וחטאים. They chose poorly: על דבר אשר לא קדמו אתכם בלחם ובמים. And the war with which we started this shiur makes that clear:
And עמון and מואב will suffer the fate of סדום and עמורה: