Chukas 5778

RABBI YONAH DICK

וישמע הכנעני מלך ערד… וילחם בישראל וישב ממנו שבי… וידר ישראל נדר…אם נתן תתן
את העם הזה בידי והחרמתי את עריהם (במדבר כא:א-ב)

The Cana’anite king of Arad heard … and he warred against Yisrael capturing a captive… Yisrael made a vow…
if you (G-d) will give this nation into our hands we will consecrate their cities (Bamidbar 21:1-2)

The Torah relates the battle between Klal Yisrael and Cana’an in the fortieth year of Klal Yisrael’s wandering. Chazal, cited in Rashi, teach that the story is not as simple as stated. It was not Cana’an who attacked Klal Yisrael; rather, Amalekim disguised as Cana’anim were the assailants.
This was not the first clash between Klal Yisrael and Amalek. Forty years earlier, Amalek attacked Klal Yisrael as they journeyed towards Matan Torah. It is interesting to note the differences between the attacks and the reactions they garnered.
In the first confrontation, the Pasuk (Devarim 25:18) states ויזנב בך הנחשלים אחריך, Amalek cut down Klal Yisrael. Here, in the second meeting, the result of the confrontation wasוישב ממנו שבי , they took a captive.
Furthermore, Chazal reveal who this captive was. It was a maidservant belonging to Klal Yisrael, a שפחה כנענית. What was the difference in the style of attack between the first and second confrontation? What at that moment interested Amalek in the maidservant of Klal Yisrael?
And regarding Klal Yisrael’s reaction, why did they feel the need make a vow consecrating the spoils, something not found as part of their response in the initial clash?
Perhaps the difference between the two attacks lies in the difference between Klal Yisrael at each juncture. Between the first and second meetings, Klal Yisrael underwent a transformation: they received the Torah. Amalek opposes Klal Yisrael and what they represent. Initially, they tried to prevent Klal Yisrael from receiving the Torah. They attacked hoping to destroy; they were thwarted. Now it was too late. The Torah had been given, received by Klal Yisrael. The plan now would be to prevent Klal Yisrael from being able to carry out their mission, the task they had been delegated in the reception of the Torah. A new battle plan was drawn up.
What is the duty of the Jew? To serve Hashem, uplifting the mundane, bringing sanctity to an otherwise empty existence. This is precisely what Amalek opposed. וילחם בישראל.
There is an integral difference between taking captives and killing the enemy. If you destroy your opponent, you have limited him but not increased yourself. If, though, you capture your opponent, you have the opportunity to transform him into one of your own. You are able to increase yourself. This was Amalek’s strategy – to oppose Klal Yisrael’s spread of Kedusha by spreading their Tumah.
Moreover, a maidservant of a Jew is a non-Jewish person who has become the possession of a Jewish person. She is required to observe all the laws of a Jewish woman. She has become sanctified because she is in the possession of the Jew. The Kedusha, the sanctity of a Jew, spills over, affecting not only himself but also his possessions. This trait is indicative of the Jewish people; they sanctify all they come in contact with. Their Kedusha is infectious. This trait is what Amalek opposes.
Amalek’s objective in battle was to take back this captive, this non-Jewish person sanctified through Jewish ownership. They were trying to undo what had been accomplished through Klal Yisrael’s receiving the Torah. וישב ממנו שבי.
Klal Yisrael responded. וידר ישראל נדר, they made a vow. A vow is not simply a verbal obligation. A vow brings sanctity to the item mentioned, thereby forbidding it on the person. This was Klal Yisrael’s response. “If Amalek is dedicated to spreading their Tumah, we will battle them with our dedication to the spread of Kedusha.”
Amalek’s mission is to oppose Klal Yisrael in their receiving the Torah and their spreading the Kedusha of the Torah. Before Bnei Yisrael received the Torah, Amelak sought to destroy Klal Yisrael, thus preventing its reception. After the Torah was received, Amalek changed tactics. They now opposed the spreading of the Kedusha that had been enabled by its reception. Each time, Klal Yisrael’s response was appropriate for that attack. 


In O.C. Siman 261:2 the Shulchan Aruch states, “There are those who maintain that one is required to add from mundane unto the Holy.” The Shulchan Aruch is referring to the concept called “Tosefes Shabbos.” This is the requirement to add to the day of Shabbos by accepting the Shabbos earlier than sundown, thereby adding to the day. The basis for this is derived by the Gemara (Rosh Hashana 9a) from the verseועיניתם את נפשותיכם בתשעה לחודש (ויקרא כג:לב), “and you should fast on the ninth of the month” (Bamidbar 23:32). The Torah expresses that the fast of Yom Kippur begins on the ninth day, when in reality it is the fast of the tenth. Chazal derive from here the requirement of adding to the day. Hence, the ninth day becomes a part of the fast of the tenth. Additional words in the Pasuk are used to derive that this Halacha of “adding to the day” applies to Shabbos and Yom Tov as well.
The Rambam cites the Halacha of “adding to the day” only regarding Yom Kippur, not Shabbos. The Acharonim explain that the Rambam based his ruling upon other Gemaras that seem to contradict the earlier mentioned Gemara. Based upon those other Gemaras, the Rambam did not Pasken like that aforementioned Gemara, and maintains that the Halacha of Tosefes Hayom is a requirement for Yom Kippur only. Therefore, the Shulchan Aruch only states this Halacha as “there are those who say,” taking into account the Rambam’s opinion that argued with this law. Tosafos, the Ramban and Rabbeinu Yonah are all of the opinion that there is a Mitzvah to add onto the Shabbos – they are the “those who say” of the Shulchan Aruch.
According to these Rishonim, Tosefes Shabbos is a biblical command.
The time added does not carry with it the stringencies of Shabbos, i.e., one would not be transgressing the Shabbos by doing a Melacha during that time frame. Rather, it is a positive command to treat that added time like the Shabbos, and one who does a Melacha in that time violates the positive command to add to the Shabbos.
According to the Rambam, there is no such positive command. But what about a rabbinic one? The Kesef Mishna (Hilchos Shvisas Asar) maintains that there is no such rabbinic injunction; therefore, the Shulchan Aruch (the author of the Kesef Mishna) cites no such requirement and the Halacha of Tosefes Shabbos remains only “those who say.” Others argue and maintain that according to the Rambam, there is a rabbinic requirement. Although the Rambam does not mention it explicitly, he does mention that Chazal instituted a shofar blowing to warn the people of Shabbos and cease doing Melacha. This was done before sunset, which implies a requirement to add to the day. This proof is cited by the Vilna Gaon.
Accordingly, Tosefes Shabbos is either biblical or rabbinic in nature.