Chapter 7ז׳
1 א

אֶחָד מִלְחֶמֶת מִצְוָה וְאֶחָד מִלְחֶמֶת הָרְשׁוּת מְמַנִּין כֹּהֵן לְדַבֵּר אֶל הָעָם בִּשְׁעַת הַמִּלְחָמָה. וּמוֹשְׁחִין אוֹתוֹ בְּשֶׁמֶן הַמִּשְׁחָה וְזֶהוּ הַנִּקְרָא מְשׁוּחַ מִלְחָמָה:

A Kohen is appointed to address the people at the time of war, whether it is a War of Mitzvoh or a Discretionary War. He is anointed with the (special) Anointing Oil and called the “Anointed for War”.

2 ב

שְׁתֵּי פְּעָמִים מְדַבֵּר מְשׁוּחַ מִלְחָמָה אֶל הָעָם. אַחַת בַּסְּפַר בְּעֵת שֶׁיּוֹצְאִין קֹדֶם שֶׁיַּעַרְכוּ הַמִּלְחָמָה. אוֹמֵר לָעָם (דברים כ, ו) "מִי הָאִישׁ אֲשֶׁר נָטַע כֶּרֶם וְלֹא חִלְּלוֹ" וְגוֹ'. כְּשֶׁיִּשְׁמַע דְּבָרָיו יַחְזֹר מֵעוֹרְכֵי הַמִּלְחָמָה. וְאַחַת בְּעוֹרְכֵי הַמִּלְחָמָה אוֹמֵר (דברים כ, ג) "אַל תִּירְאוּ וְאַל תַּחְפְּזוּ":

The Anointed for War addresses the people twice. First, at the border54When leaving the country. just before going out to wage the battle, he says to them, “Is there man here who has planted a vineyard, and has not redeemed it?” (Deut. 20:6). When they hear him, those people will return from the front. And then again at the front he (addresses them and) says, “do not fear and do not run away” (Deut. 20:3).

3 ג

עֵת שֶׁעוֹרְכִין הַמַּעֲרָכוֹת וְהֵם קְרֵבִים לְהִלָּחֵם. מְשׁוּחַ מִלְחָמָה עוֹמֵד בְּמָקוֹם גָּבוֹהַּ וְכָל הַמַּעֲרָכוֹת לְפָנָיו. וְאוֹמֵר לָהֶם בִּלְשׁוֹן הַקֹּדֶשׁ (דברים כ, ג) "שְׁמַע יִשְׂרָאֵל אַתֶּם קְרֵבִים הַיּוֹם לַמִּלְחָמָה עַל אֹיְבֵיכֶם". (דברים כ, ג) "אַל יֵרַךְ לְבַבְכֶם אַל תִּירְאוּ וְאַל תַּחְפְּזוּ וְאַל תַּעַרְצוּ מִפְּנֵיהֶם". (דברים כ, ד) "כִּי ה' אֱלֹהֵיכֶם הַהלֵךְ עִמָּכֶם לְהִלָּחֵם לָכֶם עִם אֹיְבֵיכֶם לְהוֹשִׁיעַ אֶתְכֶם". עַד כָּאן אוֹמֵר מְשׁוּחַ מִלְחָמָה וְכֹהֵן אַחֵר תַּחְתָּיו מַשְׁמִיעַ אוֹתוֹ לְכָל הָעָם בְּקוֹל רָם. וְאַחַר כָּךְ מְדַבֵּר מְשׁוּחַ מִלְחָמָה (דברים כ, ה) "מִי הָאִישׁ אֲשֶׁר בָּנָה בַיִת חָדָשׁ" וְגוֹ' (דברים כ, ו) "וּמִי הָאִישׁ אֲשֶׁר נָטַע כֶּרֶם" וְגוֹ' (דברים כ, ז) "וּמִי הָאִישׁ אֲשֶׁר אֵרַשׂ" וְגוֹ'. עַד כָּאן מְשׁוּחַ מִלְחָמָה מְדַבֵּר וְהַשּׁוֹטֵר מַשְׁמִיעַ לְכָל הָעָם בְּקוֹל רָם. וְאַחַר כָּךְ מְדַבֵּר הַשּׁוֹטֵר מֵעַצְמוֹ וְאוֹמֵר (דברים כ, ח) "מִי הָאִישׁ הַיָּרֵא וְרַךְ הַלֵּבָב" וְשׁוֹטֵר אַחֵר מַשְׁמִיעַ לְכָל הָעָם:

At the time they are organizing to deploy in their battle array and are ready to do battle, the Anointed for War stands on a high place with the entire army before him and says to them in the Holy Tongue, “Shema Yisroel, you are about to do battle today with your enemies. Have no fear in your hearts, do not be frightened, do not scurry about and do not flee from before them. HaShem, your G-d, goes with you to fight with your enemies and save you” (Deut. 20:3-4). Until here does the Anointed for War speak. A subordinate Kohen now broadcasts this message to the people in a loud voice. The Anointed for War again speaks and says, “Is there a man here who has built a new home and has not dedicated it? Let him go and return to his house lest he die in battle and another man dedicate it. Is there a man here who has planted a vineyard and has not used its fruit? Let him go and return to his house lest he die in battle and another man use its fruit. Is there a man here who 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” (Deut. 20:5-7). Until here does the Anointed for War speak. Then a55Lit., the. marshal broadcasts this message to the people in a loud voice. The marshal himself then speaks and says, “Is there a man here who is afraid and weak of heart?” (Deut. 20:8). Another officer then broadcasts this to the people.

4 ד

וְאַחַר שֶׁחוֹזְרִין כָּל הַחוֹזְרִין מֵעוֹרְכֵי הַמִּלְחָמָה. מְתַקְּנִין אֶת הַמַּעֲרָכוֹת. וּפוֹקְדִים שָׂרֵי צְבָאוֹת בְּרֹאשׁ הָעָם. וּמַעֲמִידִין מֵאָחוֹר כָּל מַעֲרָכָה וּמַעֲרָכָה שׁוֹטְרִים חֲזָקִים וְעַזִּים. וְכַשִּׁילִין שֶׁל בַּרְזֶל בִּידֵיהֶם. הָרוֹצֶה לַחְזֹר מִן הַמִּלְחָמָה הָרְשׁוּת בְּיָדָן לַחְתֹּךְ אֶת שׁוֹקוֹ. שֶׁתְּחִלַּת נְפִילָה נִיסָה. בַּמֶּה דְּבָרִים אֲמוּרִים שֶׁמַּחְזִירִין אֲנָשִׁים אֵלּוּ מֵעוֹרְכֵי הַמִּלְחָמָה בְּמִלְחֶמֶת הָרְשׁוּת. אֲבָל בְּמִלְחֶמֶת מִצְוָה הַכּל יוֹצְאִין וַאֲפִלּוּ חָתָן מֵחַדְרוֹ וְכַלָּה מֵחֻפָּתָהּ:

After all those who are to leave have left from the front, they arrange the battle array and appoint officers to lead the people. Behind each array, strong and tough gendarmes are appointed and hold an iron axe in their hands. These police have the right to cut the thigh of anyone who wants to flee the battle, for fleeing is the first step to defeat. People are returned from the battlefield in a Discretionary War. However, in a War of Mitzvoh everyone goes out to the battle, even a groom from his room and a bride56She will supply food and water for her husband, but will not participate in the fighting. from under her wedding canopy.

5 ה

אֶחָד הַבּוֹנֶה בַּיִת לִישִׁיבָתוֹ. וְאֶחָד הַבּוֹנֶה בֵּית הַבָּקָר. בֵּית הָעֵצִים. בֵּית הָאוֹצָרוֹת. הוֹאִיל וְרָאוּי לְדִירָה. וְאֶחָד הַבּוֹנֶה. וְאֶחָד הַלּוֹקֵחַ. וְאֶחָד שֶׁנִּתָּן לוֹ בְּמַתָּנָה אוֹ הַיּוֹרֵשׁ. הֲרֵי זֶה חוֹזֵר. אֲבָל הַבּוֹנֶה [בֵּית הַתֶּבֶן] וּבֵית שַׁעַר. אַכְסַדְרָה וּמִרְפֶּסֶת. אוֹ בַּיִת שֶׁאֵין בּוֹ אַרְבַּע אַמּוֹת עַל אַרְבַּע אַמּוֹת. אוֹ הַגּוֹזֵל בַּיִת. הֲרֵי זֶה אֵינוֹ חוֹזֵר:

The Law is the same whether one builds a house wherein he will live or builds a pen for his cattle or a woodshed or a storehouse57Used for wine, oil or wheat., as long as a human could live therein58Even if no one actually does.. The Law is also the same whether one builds, buys or inherits a house or receives it as gift. In all these cases, he is returned home from the front. However, the one who built a guard booth or a porch or a portico or a structure which does not have the (minimum) dimensions of 4 x 4 cubits, or the one who steals a house, does not return.

6 ו

אֶחָד הַנּוֹטֵעַ כֶּרֶם. וְאֶחָד הַנּוֹטֵעַ חֲמִשָּׁה אִילָנֵי מַאֲכָל. וַאֲפִלּוּ מֵחֲמֵשֶׁת מִינֵי מַאֲכָל. אֶחָד הַנּוֹטֵעַ. וְאֶחָד הַמַּבְרִיךְ וְאֶחָד הַמַּרְכִּיב הַבְרָכָה וְהַרְכָּבָה שֶׁהִיא חַיֶּבֶת בְּעָרְלָה. אֶחָד הַלּוֹקֵחַ. וְאֶחָד הַיּוֹרֵשׁ. וְאֶחָד שֶׁנִּתָּן לוֹ בְּמַתָּנָה. אֲבָל הַנּוֹטֵעַ אַרְבָּעָה אִילָנֵי מַאֲכָל. אוֹ חֲמִשָּׁה אִילָנֵי סְרָק. אוֹ שֶׁגָּזַל כֶּרֶם. אֵינוֹ חוֹזֵר עָלָיו. וְכֵן כֶּרֶם שֶׁל שְׁנֵי שֻׁתָּפִין אֵין חוֹזְרִין עָלָיו:

The Law is the same for the one who plants a vineyard or the one who plants five fruit-bearing trees or even five types of food59I think this means whether five of one type of tree or five different types of trees.. It is same whether one plants or prunes or grafts. Grafting refers to the type of grafting which would cause one to be obligated by the Laws of Orlah. It is the same whether one buys or inherits or was given these as a gift. However, this Law is not applicable to the one who planted four fruit-bearing trees or five non-fruit-bearing trees or stole a vineyard. He does not return home. Similarly, a vineyard owned by two partners, qualifies neither to return.

7 ז

אֶחָד הַמְאָרֵס אֶת הַבְּתוּלָה. וְאֶחָד הַמְאָרֵס אֶת הָאַלְמָנָה. וְכֵן אִם נָפְלָה לוֹ יְבָמָה אֲפִלּוּ חֲמִשָּׁה אַחִים וּמֵת אֶחָד מֵהֶן כֻּלָּן חוֹזְרִין. קִדֵּשׁ אִשָּׁה מֵעַכְשָׁו וּלְאַחַר שְׁנֵים עָשָׂר חֹדֶשׁ וְשָׁלַם הַזְּמַן בַּמִּלְחָמָה חוֹזֵר וּבָא לוֹ:

The Law is the same whether one is engaged to a virgin or a widow or if he has to perform Yibum (Levirate marriage) - even in a case where there are five brothers and one dies, they all return home. If one made a condition today that his marriage to a woman retroactively to today would be valid only twelve months from now, and that time elapsed while he was at war, he returns home.

8 ח

הַמַּחֲזִיר אֶת גְּרוּשָׁתוֹ. וְהַמְאָרֵס אִשָּׁה הָאֲסוּרָה עָלָיו. כְּגוֹן אַלְמָנָה לְכֹהֵן גָּדוֹל. גְּרוּשָׁה וַחֲלוּצָה לְכֹהֵן הֶדְיוֹט. מַמְזֶרֶת וּנְתִינָה לְיִשְׂרָאֵל. בַּת יִשְׂרָאֵל לְמַמְזֵר וּלְנָתִין. אֵינוֹ חוֹזֵר:

One who remarries his divorcee, one who becomes engaged to a woman who is forbidden to him, for instance, a Kohen Godol to a widow, or a divorcee or a Chalutzah to a regular Kohen, or a female bastard or female Nosin60Givonites, and cursed by King David. to a Israelite, or the daughter of an Israelite to a male bastard or male Nosin do not return from the battlefield.

9 ט

כָּל אֵלּוּ שֶׁחוֹזְרִין מֵעוֹרְכֵי הַמִּלְחָמָה. כְּשֶׁשּׁוֹמְעִין אֶת דִּבְרֵי הַכֹּהֵן חוֹזְרִין. וּמְסַפְּקִין מַיִם וּמָזוֹן לַאֲחֵיהֶם שֶׁבַּצָּבָא. וּמְתַקְּנִין אֶת הַדְּרָכִים:

All those who are returned from the battle array, return when they hear the words of the Kohen. They will, however, supply the water and food for the soldiers, and repair the roads.

10 י

וְאֵלּוּ שֶׁאֵין יוֹצְאִין לְעוֹרְכֵי הַמִּלְחָמָה כָּל עִקָּר. וְאֵין מַטְרִיחִין אוֹתָם לְשׁוּם דָּבָר בָּעוֹלָם. הַבּוֹנֶה בַּיִת וַחֲנָכוֹ. וְהַנּוֹשֵׂא אֲרוּסָתוֹ אוֹ שֶׁיִּבֵּם. וּמִי שֶׁחִלֵּל כַּרְמוֹ. אֵין יוֹצְאִין עַד תֹּם שָׁנָה. שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (דברים כד, ה) "נָקִי יִהְיֶה לְבֵיתוֹ שָׁנָה אֶחָת וְשִׂמַּח אֶת אִשְׁתּוֹ אֲשֶׁר לָקָח". מִפִּי הַקַּבָּלָה לָמְדוּ שֶׁיִּהְיֶה נָקִי שָׁנָה בֵּין לַבַּיִת שֶׁקָּנָה בֵּין לָאִשָּׁה שֶׁנָּשָׂא בֵּין לַכֶּרֶם שֶׁהִתְחִיל לֶאֱכל פִּרְיוֹ:

These are those who do not go out to the battlefront at all, and they are not troubled for any reason at all: The one who builds a house and dedicates61I.e., he moves in. it; the one who marries his fiancée or performs Yibum; and the one who redeems62In the fourth year after planting. The redemption monies are brought up to Jerusalem. his vineyard. These do not go out until the end of the year, as it says, “he shall be free unto his house for one year, and he shall make his wife happy, she who he has taken” (Deut. 24:5). By Tradition we have learned that a person is given one undisturbed year63Free from communal responsibilities. after buying a house or marrying a woman or beginning to eat from a vineyard.

11 יא

כָּל הַשָּׁנָה אֵין מְסַפֵּק מַיִם וּמָזוֹן. וְלֹא מְתַקֵּן דֶּרֶךְ. וְלֹא שׁוֹמֵר בַּחוֹמָה. וְלֹא נוֹתֵן לְפַסֵּי הָעִיר. וְלֹא יַעֲבֹר עָלָיו שׁוּם דָּבָר בָּעוֹלָם. שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (דברים כד, ה) "לֹא יֵצֵא בַּצָּבָא וְלֹא יַעֲבֹר עָלָיו לְכָל דָּבָר" לַעֲבֹר בִּשְׁנֵי לָאוִין. לֹא לְצָרְכֵי הָעִיר וְלֹא לְצָרְכֵי הַגְּדוּד:

For an entire year he does not supply the water or the food, nor repair the roads, nor guard at the wall64Nor give the wooden boards to strengthen the city gates.. Nothing is given him to do that year, as it says, “he shall not go to the army, and nothing shall burden him at all” (Deut. 24:5). This verse is worded to teach two Negative Commandments: that he does not go out either for needs of the city or for needs of the brigade65Or, garrison..

12 יב

בָּנָה בַּיִת וְהִשְׂכִּירוֹ לַאֲחֵרִים וְהִקְדִּים לוֹ שְׂכָרוֹ הֲרֵי זֶה כְּמִי שֶׁחֲנָכוֹ. נָתַן לוֹ שְׂכָרוֹ לְאַחַר שְׁנֵים עָשָׂר חֹדֶשׁ הֲרֵי הוּא כְּמִי שֶׁלֹּא חֲנָכוֹ עַד עַתָּה:

One built a house and rented it out. If the renter pays the rent up front, then it is like he dedicated the house66As soon as the rent is collected.. But, if the renter only pays his rent after twelve month have elapsed, he is considered like one who has not dedicated his home.

13 יג

בָּנָה בַּיִת וְנָתַן בּוֹ חֲפָצָיו וְנָעַל עֲלֵיהֶם. אִם הָיָה צָרִיךְ לְבַטֵּל עַל שְׁמִירָתָן הֲרֵי זֶה כְּמִי שֶׁחֲנָכוֹ וְהִתְחִיל לֵישֵׁב בּוֹ. וְאִם אֵינָן צְרִיכִין לֵישֵׁב וּלְשָׁמְרָן הֲרֵי זֶה כְּמִי שֶׁלֹּא חֲנָכוֹ:

Regarding the one who built a house, brought his household goods in and locked the door: if he has to forgo (his normal activities) in order to guard his belongings, then this is similar to someone who dedicated his home and has begun to dwell therein. But, if there is no need to stay there and guard his household goods67Because they were large and heavy and cannot be easily stolen. at all, then he is comparable to one who has not dedicated a house at all.

14 יד

וְכָל הַבּוֹנֶה בַּיִת אוֹ נוֹטֵעַ כֶּרֶם בְּחוּצָה לָאָרֶץ אֵינוֹ חוֹזֵר עֲלֵיהֶן:

Anyone who builds a house and plants a vineyard outside of the Land of Israel does not return from the battlefront, for these reasons.

15 טו

(דברים כ, ח) "מִי הָאִישׁ הַיָּרֵא וְרַךְ הַלֵּבָב" כְּמַשְׁמָעוֹ. שֶׁאֵין בְּלִבּוֹ כֹּחַ לַעֲמֹד בְּקִשְׁרֵי הַמִּלְחָמָה. וּמֵאַחַר שֶׁיִּכָּנֵס בְּקִשְׁרֵי הַמִּלְחָמָה יִשָּׁעֵן עַל מִקְוֵה יִשְׂרָאֵל וּמוֹשִׁיעוֹ בְּעֵת צָרָה וְיֵדַע שֶׁעַל יִחוּד הַשֵּׁם הוּא עוֹשֶׂה מִלְחָמָה וְיָשִׂים נַפְשׁוֹ בְּכַפּוֹ וְלֹא יִירָא וְלֹא יִפְחָד וְלֹא יַחְשֹׁב לֹא בְּאִשְׁתּוֹ וְלֹא בְּבָנָיו אֶלָּא יִמְחֶה זִכְרוֹנָם מִלִּבּוֹ וְיִפָּנֶה מִכָּל דָּבָר לַמִּלְחָמָה. וְכָל הַמַּתְחִיל לַחְשֹׁב וּלְהַרְהֵר בַּמִּלְחָמָה וּמַבְהִיל עַצְמוֹ עוֹבֵר בְּלֹא תַּעֲשֶׂה. שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (דברים כ, ג) "אַל יֵרַךְ לְבַבְכֶם אַל תִּירְאוּ וְאַל תַּחְפְּזוּ וְאַל תַּעַרְצוּ מִפְּנֵיהֶם". וְלֹא עוֹד אֶלָּא שֶׁכָּל דְּמֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל תְּלוּיִין בְּצַוָּארוֹ. וְאִם לֹא נִצֵּחַ וְלֹא עָשָׂה מִלְחָמָה בְּכָל לִבּוֹ וּבְכָל נַפְשׁוֹ. הֲרֵי זֶה כְּמִי שֶׁשָּׁפַךְ דְּמֵי הַכּל. שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (דברים כ, ח) "וְלֹא יִמַּס אֶת לְבַב אֶחָיו כִּלְבָבוֹ". וַהֲרֵי מְפֹרָשׁ בַּקַּבָּלָה (ירמיה מח, י) "אָרוּר עשֶֹׁה מְלֶאכֶת ה' רְמִיָּה" וְאָרוּר מֹנֵעַ חַרְבּוֹ מִדָּם. וְכָל הַנִּלְחָם בְּכָל לִבּוֹ בְּלֹא פַּחַד וְתִהְיֶה כַּוָּנָתוֹ לְקַדֵּשׁ אֶת הַשֵּׁם בִּלְבַד. מֻבְטָח לוֹ שֶׁלֹּא יִמְצָא נֵזֶק וְלֹא תַּגִּיעֵהוּ רָעָה. וְיִבְנֶה לוֹ בַּיִת נָכוֹן בְּיִשְׂרָאֵל וְיִזְכֶּה לוֹ וּלְבָנָיו עַד עוֹלָם וְיִזְכֶּה לְחַיֵּי הָעוֹלָם הַבָּא. שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (שמואל א כה, כח) "כִּי עָשֹׂה יַעֲשֶׂה ה' לַאדֹנִי בַּיִת נֶאֱמָן כִּי מִלְחֲמוֹת ה' אֲדֹנִי נִלְחָם וְרָעָה לֹא תִמָּצֵא בְךָ" וְגוֹ' (שמואל א כה, כט) "וְהָיְתָה נֶפֶשׁ אֲדֹנִי צְרוּרָה בִּצְרוֹר הַחַיִּים אֵת ה' אֱלֹהֶיךָ":

"What man is there who is fearful and is faint-hearted" (Deut. 20:8)? Exactly so. This is one whose heart has no strength to withstand the strains of war68He is afraid he’ll be killed in battle due to his sins.. Now, once one becomes entangled with the perplexities of war, he should trust the Hope of Israel, and He will save him in times of trouble. He should know he is doing battle for the unity of the Name. He should place his life in His Hands and neither be afraid nor alarmed. He should not think about his wife or his children. Rather, he should wipe away thoughts of them from his heart, and clear himself of everything for the war. Anyone who thinks about or contemplates (matters) during the battle and frightens himself violates a Negative Commandment, as it says, “do not be faint of heart, nor be alarmed, do not flee, and be not frightened before them” (Deut. 20:3). And not only that, but all the blood of Israel hangs around his neck. If he did not win and did not fight the battle with all his heart and soul, he is like one who spills everyone’s blood, as it says, “lest he not melt his brothers’ hearts as has his” (Deut. 20:8). It is explicitly stated in the Tradition that, “Cursed be he who does the work of G-d sluggishly, and cursed be he who keeps back his sword from blood” (Jeremiah 48:10). However, anyone who does fight with all his heart without fear, and his intentions are only to Sanctify the Name, is promised that he will not be harmed and nothing bad will happen to him. He will build an upright home in Israel, and he and his children will earn merit forever, and merit The World To Come, as it says, “certainly, G-d shall make for my master a faithful house, for the wars of G-d does my master fight and no evil will be found with you all your days…And the soul of my master will be bound with the living, with the Lord your G-d…” (I Samuel 25:28-29).