מְשׁוּחַ מִלְחָמָה, בְּשָׁעָה שֶׁמְּדַבֵּר אֶל הָעָם, בִּלְשׁוֹן הַקֹּדֶשׁ הָיָה מְדַבֵּר, שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (דברים כ) וְהָיָה כְּקָרָבְכֶם אֶל הַמִּלְחָמָה וְנִגַּשׁ הַכֹּהֵן, זֶה כֹּהֵן מְשׁוּחַ מִלְחָמָה, וְדִבֶּר אֶל הָעָם, בִּלְשׁוֹן הַקֹּדֶשׁ. וְאָמַר אֲלֵיהֶם (שם) שְׁמַע יִשְׂרָאֵל אַתֶּם קְרֵבִים הַיּוֹם לַמִּלְחָמָה עַל אֹיְבֵיכֶם, וְלֹא עַל אֲחֵיכֶם, לֹא יְהוּדָה עַל שִׁמְעוֹן, וְלֹא שִׁמְעוֹן עַל בִּנְיָמִין, שֶׁאִם תִּפְּלוּ בְיָדָם יְרַחֲמוּ עֲלֵיכֶם, כְּמָה שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (דה"ב כח) וַיָּקֻמוּ הָאֲנָשִׁים אֲשֶׁר נִקְּבוּ בְשֵׁמוֹת וַיַּחֲזִיקוּ בַשִּׁבְיָה וְכָל מַעֲרֻמֵּיהֶם הִלְבִּישׁוּ מִן הַשָּׁלָל וַיַּלְבִּשֻׁם וַיַּנְעִלּוּם וַיַּאֲכִלוּם וַיַּשְׁקוּם וַיְסֻכוּם וַיְנַהֲלוּם בַּחֲמֹרִים לְכָל כּוֹשֵׁל וַיְבִיאוּם יְרֵחוֹ עִיר הַתְּמָרִים אֵצֶל אֲחֵיהֶם וַיָּשׁוּבוּ שֹׁמְרוֹן. עַל אוֹיְבֵיכֶם אַתֶּם הוֹלְכִים, שֶׁאִם תִּפְּלוּ בְיָדָם אֵין מְרַחֲמִין עֲלֵיכֶם. אַל יֵרַךְ לְבַבְכֶם אַל תִּירְאוּ וְאַל תַּחְפְּזוּ וְגוֹ' (דברים כ). אַל יֵרַךְ לְבַבְכֶם, מִפְּנֵי צָהֳלַת סוּסִים וְצִחְצוּחַ חֲרָבוֹת. אַל תִּירְאוּ, מִפְּנֵי הֲגָפַת תְּרִיסִין וְשִׁפְעַת הַקַּלְגַּסִּין. אַל תַּחְפְּזוּ, מִקּוֹל קְרָנוֹת. אַל תַּעַרְצוּ, מִפְּנֵי קוֹל צְוָחוֹת. כִּי ה' אֱלֹהֵיכֶם הַהֹלֵךְ עִמָּכֶם, הֵן בָּאִין בְּנִצְחוֹנוֹ שֶׁל בָּשָׂר וָדָם, וְאַתֶּם בָּאִים בְּנִצְחוֹנוֹ שֶׁל מָקוֹם. פְּלִשְׁתִּים בָּאוּ בְנִצְחוֹנוֹ שֶׁל גָּלְיָת, מֶה הָיָה סוֹפוֹ, לְסוֹף נָפַל בַּחֶרֶב וְנָפְלוּ עִמּוֹ. בְּנֵי עַמּוֹן בָּאוּ בְנִצְחוֹנוֹ שֶׁל שׁוֹבַךְ, מֶה הָיָה סוֹפוֹ, לְסוֹף נָפַל בַּחֶרֶב וְנָפְלוּ עִמּוֹ. וְאַתֶּם אִי אַתֶּם כֵּן. כִּי ה' אֱלֹהֵיכֶם הַהֹלֵךְ עִמָּכֶם לְהִלָּחֵם לָכֶם וְגוֹ', זֶה מַחֲנֵה הָאָרוֹן: With regard to the priest who was anointed for war, at the time that he would speak to the nation, he would speak to them in the sacred tongue, Hebrew, as it is stated: “And it shall be, when you draw near to the battle, that the priest shall approach and speak to the people” (Deuteronomy 20:2). This priest identified in the verse is the priest anointed for war, the priest who is inaugurated specifically to serve this function. “And speak to the people”; he addresses them in the sacred tongue, Hebrew. The Torah dictates the priest’s address: “And he shall say to them: Hear Israel, you draw near today to battle against your enemies; let not your heart faint; fear not, nor be alarmed, and do not be terrified of them” (Deuteronomy 20:3). The priest expounds: “Against your enemies” and not against your brothers. This is not a war of the tribe of Judah against Simon and not Simon against Benjamin, such that if you fall into their hands your brothers will have mercy on you, as it is stated with regard to a war between Judah and Israel: “And the men that have been mentioned by name rose up, and took the captives, and with the spoil clothed all that were naked among them, and arrayed them, and shod them, and gave them to eat and to drink, and anointed them, and carried all the feeble of them upon donkeys, and brought them to Jericho, the city of palm trees, unto their brethren; then they returned to Samaria” (II Chronicles 28:15). Rather, you are marching to war against your enemies, and if you fall into their hands, they will not have mercy on you. The priest continues: “Let not your heart faint; fear not, nor be alarmed, and do not be terrified of them” (Deuteronomy 20:3). “Let not your heart faint” due to the neighing of horses and the sharpening of the enemy’s swords. “Fear not” due to the knocking of shields [terisin] and the noise of their boots [calgassin]. “Nor be alarmed” by the sound of trumpets. “Do not be terrified” due to the sound of shouts. The priest explains why the soldiers need not be terrified. “For the Lord your God is He that goes with you, to fight for you against your enemies, to save you” (Deuteronomy 20:4). Remember that they come to war championed by flesh and blood, and you are coming championed by the Omnipresent. The Philistines came championed by Goliath. What was his end? In the end, he fell by the sword, and they fell with him (see I Samuel, chapter 17). The Ammonites came championed by Shobach. What was his end? In the end, he fell by the sword, and they fell with him (see II Samuel, chapter 10). But as for you, you are not so, reliant upon the strength of mortals: “For the Lord your God is He that goes with you, to fight for you against your enemies, to save you”; this verse is referring to the camp of the Ark of the Covenant that accompanies them out to war.
וְדִבְּרוּ הַשֹּׁטְרִים אֶל הָעָם לֵאמֹר מִי הָאִישׁ אֲשֶׁר בָּנָה בַיִת חָדָשׁ וְלֹא חֲנָכוֹ יֵלֵךְ וְיָשֹׁב לְבֵיתוֹ וְגוֹ' (שם). אֶחָד הַבּוֹנֶה בֵית הַתֶּבֶן, בֵּית הַבָּקָר, בֵּית הָעֵצִים, בֵּית הָאוֹצָרוֹת. אֶחָד הַבּוֹנֶה, וְאֶחָד הַלּוֹקֵחַ, וְאֶחָד הַיּוֹרֵשׁ, וְאֶחָד שֶׁנִּתַּן לוֹ מַתָּנָה. וּמִי הָאִישׁ אֲשֶׁר נָטַע כֶּרֶם וְלֹא חִלְּלוֹ וְגוֹ' (שם). אֶחָד הַנּוֹטֵעַ הַכֶּרֶם וְאֶחָד הַנּוֹטֵעַ חֲמִשָּׁה אִילָנֵי מַאֲכָל, וַאֲפִלּוּ מֵחֲמֵשֶׁת מִינִין. אֶחָד הַנּוֹטֵעַ, וְאֶחָד הַמַּבְרִיךְ, וְאֶחָד הַמַּרְכִּיב, וְאֶחָד הַלּוֹקֵחַ, וְאֶחָד הַיּוֹרֵשׁ, וְאֶחָד שֶׁנִּתַּן לוֹ מַתָּנָה. וּמִי הָאִישׁ אֲשֶׁר אֵרַשׂ אִשָּׁה וְגוֹ' (שם). אֶחָד הַמְאָרֵס אֶת הַבְּתוּלָה, וְאֶחָד הַמְאָרֵס אֶת הָאַלְמָנָה, אֲפִלּוּ שׁוֹמֶרֶת יָבָם, וַאֲפִלּוּ שָׁמַע שֶׁמֵּת אָחִיו בַּמִּלְחָמָה, חוֹזֵר וּבָא לוֹ. כֹּל אֵלּוּ שׁוֹמְעִין דִּבְרֵי כֹהֵן מֵעֶרְכֵי מִלְחָמָה וְחוֹזְרִין, וּמְסַפְּקִין מַיִם וּמָזוֹן וּמְתַקְּנִין אֶת הַדְּרָכִים: The mishna continues its discussion of the speech given before battle. “And the officers shall speak to the people, saying: What man is there that has built a new house, and has not dedicated it? Let him go and return to his house, lest he die in the battle, and another man dedicate it” (Deuteronomy 20:5). He is sent home if he is one who builds a storehouse for straw, a barn for cattle, a shed for wood, or a warehouse. Similarly, it applies if he is one who builds, or if he is one who purchases, or if he is one who inherits, or if he is one to whom it is given as a gift. In all these instances, the man returns from the war encampment. The next verse states: “And what man is there that has planted a vineyard, and has not used the fruit thereof? Let him go and return unto his house, lest he die in the battle and another man use the fruit thereof” (Deuteronomy 20:6). He is sent home if he is one who plants a whole vineyard of many vines, or if he is one who plants as few as five fruit trees of another variety, and even if these five are from the five species. The produce need not be all of one species. The same applies if he is one who plants, or if he is one who layers the vine, bending a branch into the ground so that it may take root and grow as a new vine, or if he is one who grafts different trees onto one another. And it applies if he is one who purchases a vineyard, or if he is one who inherits a vineyard, or if he is one to whom the vineyard is given as a gift. The next verse states: “And what man is there that has betrothed a wife, and has not taken her? Let him go and return to his house, lest he die in the battle, and another man take her” (Deuteronomy 20:7). He is sent home if he is one who betroths a virgin, or if he is one who betroths a widow. This applies even if his yevama, his late brother’s wife, is a widow waiting for him as her yavam to perform levirate marriage; and even if he heard that his brother died in the war and the widow begins to wait for him only then, he returns and goes home. Each of these men, although they are exempt, still hear the address of the priest and the regulations of war at the local camp, and thereafter they return to their respective homes. However, they still support the war effort, and they provide water and food for the soldiers and repair the roads.
וְאֵלּוּ שֶׁאֵינָן חוֹזְרִין. הַבּוֹנֶה בֵית שַׁעַר, אַכְסַדְרָה, מִרְפֶּסֶת. הַנּוֹטֵעַ אַרְבָּעָה אִילָנֵי מַאֲכָל, וַחֲמִשָּׁה אִילָנֵי סְרָק. הַמַּחֲזִיר אֶת גְּרוּשָׁתוֹ. אַלְמָנָה לְכֹהֵן גָּדוֹל, גְּרוּשָׁה וַחֲלוּצָה לְכֹהֵן הֶדְיוֹט, מַמְזֶרֶת וּנְתִינָה לְיִשְׂרָאֵל, בַּת יִשְׂרָאֵל לְמַמְזֵר וּלְנָתִין, לֹא הָיָה חוֹזֵר. רַבִּי יְהוּדָה אוֹמֵר, אַף הַבּוֹנֶה בַיִת עַל מְכוֹנוֹ, לֹא הָיָה חוֹזֵר. רַבִּי אֱלִיעֶזֶר אוֹמֵר, אַף הַבּוֹנֶה בֵית לְבֵנִים בַּשָּׁרוֹן, לֹא הָיָה חוֹזֵר: And these are the men who do not return to their homes: One who builds a gateway, or an enclosed veranda [akhsadra], or a balcony; or one who plants no more than four fruit trees or even five or more non-fruit bearing trees; or one who remarries his divorced wife. Nor is there an exemption for one who has betrothed a woman whom he is not permitted to marry: With regard to a widow betrothed to a High Priest (see Leviticus 21:7); a divorcée or a yevama who performed ḥalitza [ḥalutza], in lieu of entering into a levirate marriage, betrothed to a common priest (see Leviticus 21:13–15); a mamzeret or a Gibeonite woman betrothed to an Israelite; or an Israelite woman betrothed to a mamzer or a Gibeonite (see Deuteronomy 23:3); such a man does not return to his home. Rabbi Yehuda says: Even one who rebuilds a house as it stood originally would not return. Rabbi Eliezer says: Even one who builds a new brick house in the Sharon would not return because these houses are not stable and are expected to collapse periodically.
וְאֵלּוּ שֶׁאֵין זָזִין מִמְּקוֹמָן. בָּנָה בַיִת וַחֲנָכוֹ, נָטַע כֶּרֶם וְחִלְּלוֹ, הַנּוֹשֵׂא אֶת אֲרוּסָתוֹ, הַכּוֹנֵס אֶת יְבִמְתּוֹ, שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (דברים כד), נָקִי יִהְיֶה לְבֵיתוֹ שָׁנָה אֶחָת. לְבֵיתוֹ, זֶה בֵּיתוֹ. יִהְיֶה, זֶה כַּרְמוֹ. וְשִׂמַּח אֶת אִשְׁתּוֹ, זוֹ אִשְׁתּוֹ. אֲשֶׁר לָקָח, לְהָבִיא אֶת יְבִמְתּוֹ. אֵינָן מַסְפִּיקִין מַיִם וּמָזוֹן וְאֵינָן מְתַקְּנִין אֶת הַדְּרָכִים: These are the men who do not even move from their places because they do not even report to the camp: One who built a house and dedicated it within the year; one who planted a vineyard and used its fruit for less than a year; one who marries his betrothed and one who marries his yevama, his brother’s widow who must enter into a levirate marriage or perform ḥalitza, as it is stated: “When a man takes a new wife, he shall not go out with the army…he shall be free for his house one year, and shall cheer his wife whom he has taken” (Deuteronomy 24:5). The mishna interprets the verse as follows: “For his house”; this means his house that he built. “He shall be”; this term includes his vineyard. “And shall cheer his wife”; this is his wife. “Whom he has taken”; this phrase comes to include his yevama, who is considered his wife with respect to this halakha although he has not yet married her. Those who are exempt for these reasons do not even provide water and food to the soldiers, and they do not repair the roads.
(שם כ) וְיָסְפוּ הַשֹּׁטְרִים לְדַבֵּר אֶל הָעָם וְאָמְרוּ מִי הָאִישׁ הַיָּרֵא וְרַךְ הַלֵּבָב יֵלֵךְ וְיָשֹׁב לְבֵיתוֹ. רַבִּי עֲקִיבָא אוֹמֵר, הַיָּרֵא וְרַךְ הַלֵּבָב, כְּמַשְׁמָעוֹ, שֶׁאֵינוֹ יָכוֹל לַעֲמֹד בְּקִשְׁרֵי הַמִּלְחָמָה וְלִרְאוֹת חֶרֶב שְׁלוּפָה. רַבִּי יוֹסֵי הַגְּלִילִי אוֹמֵר, הַיָּרֵא וְרַךְ הַלֵּבָב זֶהוּ הַמִּתְיָרֵא מִן הָעֲבֵרוֹת שֶׁבְּיָדוֹ, לְפִיכָךְ תָּלְתָה לוֹ הַתּוֹרָה אֶת כָּל אֵלּוּ, שֶׁיַּחֲזֹר בִּגְלָלָן. רַבִּי יוֹסֵי אוֹמֵר, אַלְמָנָה לְכֹהֵן גָּדוֹל, גְּרוּשָׁה וַחֲלוּצָה לְכֹהֵן הֶדְיוֹט, מַמְזֶרֶת וּנְתִינָה לְיִשְׂרָאֵל, בַּת יִשְׂרָאֵל לְמַמְזֵר וּלְנָתִין, הֲרֵי הוּא הַיָּרֵא וְרַךְ הַלֵּבָב: The mishna continues its discussion of the speech given before battle. “And the officers shall speak further to the people, and they shall say: What man is there that is fearful and fainthearted? Let him go and return unto his house” (Deuteronomy 20:8). Rabbi Akiva says: “That is fearful and fainthearted” is to be understood as it indicates, that the man is unable to stand in the battle ranks and to see a drawn sword because it will terrify him. Rabbi Yosei HaGelili says: “That is fearful and fainthearted”; this is one who is afraid because of the sins that he has; he, too, returns. Therefore, the Torah provided him with all these additional reasons for exemption from the army so he can ascribe his leaving to one of them. In this way, the sinner may leave the ranks without having to publicly acknowledge that he is a sinner. Rabbi Yosei says: With regard to one who has betrothed a woman forbidden to him, including a widow betrothed to a High Priest; a divorcée or a yevama who performed ḥalitza [ḥalutza] betrothed to a common priest; a mamzeret or a Gibeonite woman betrothed to an Israelite; or a daughter of an Israelite betrothed to a mamzer or a Gibeonite; this man is he whom the verse calls “fearful and fainthearted.” He fears that his sin will jeopardize his safety in the war.
(שם) וְהָיָה כְּכַלֹּת הַשֹּׁטְרִים לְדַבֵּר אֶל הָעָם וּפָקְדוּ שָׂרֵי צְבָאוֹת בְּרֹאשׁ הָעָם, וּבַעֲקֵבוֹ שֶׁל עָם. מַעֲמִידִין זְקִיפִין לִפְנֵיהֶם, וַאֲחֵרִים מֵאֲחוֹרֵיהֶם, וְכַשִּׁילִין שֶׁל בַּרְזֶל בִּידֵיהֶן, וְכָל הַמְבַקֵּשׁ לַחֲזֹר, הָרְשׁוּת בְּיָדוֹ לְקַפֵּחַ אֶת שׁוֹקָיו, שֶׁתְּחִלַּת נִיסָה נְפִילָה, שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (שמואל א ד) נָס יִשְׂרָאֵל לִפְנֵי פְלִשְׁתִּים וְגַם מַגֵּפָה גְדוֹלָה הָיְתָה בָעָם, וּלְהַלָּן הוּא אוֹמֵר (שם לא) וַיָּנֻסוּ אַנְשֵׁי יִשְׂרָאֵל מִפְּנֵי פְלִשְׁתִּים וַיִּפְּלוּ חֲלָלִים וְגוֹ': The mishna continues its discussion. The verse states: “And it shall be, when the officers conclude speaking to the people, that captains of legions shall be appointed at the head of the people” (Deuteronomy 20:9). The mishna adds: As well as at the rear of the people. The officers station guards [zekifin] in front of them, and other guards behind them, and they have iron rods [kashilin] in their hands. And with regard to anyone who attempts to turn back and flee from the war, the guard has license to beat [lekape’aḥ] his legs because the beginning of fleeing is a downfall on the battlefield, as it is stated: “Israel has fled before the Philistines, and there has been also a great slaughter among the people” (I Samuel 4:17), and likewise it says further on: “And the men of Israel fled from before the Philistines, and fell down slain in Mount Gilboa” (I Samuel 31:1).
בַּמֶּה דְבָרִים אֲמוּרִים, בְּמִלְחֶמֶת הָרְשׁוּת. אֲבָל בְּמִלְחֶמֶת מִצְוָה, הַכֹּל יוֹצְאִין, אֲפִלּוּ חָתָן מֵחֶדְרוֹ וְכַלָּה מֵחֻפָּתָהּ. אָמַר רַבִּי יְהוּדָה, בַּמֶּה דְבָרִים אֲמוּרִים, בְּמִלְחֶמֶת מִצְוָה. אֲבָל בְּמִלְחֶמֶת חוֹבָה, הַכֹּל יוֹצְאִין, אֲפִלּוּ חָתָן מֵחֶדְרוֹ וְכַלָּה מֵחֻפָּתָהּ: The mishna adds: In what case are all of these statements, with regard to the various exemptions from war, said? They are said with regard to elective wars. But in wars whose mandate is a mitzva, everyone goes, even a groom from his room and a bride from her wedding canopy. Rabbi Yehuda said: In what case are all of these statements, with regard to the various exemptions from war, said? They are said with regard to wars whose mandate is a mitzva. But in obligatory wars, everyone goes, even a groom from his room and a bride from her wedding canopy.