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In the beginning of Parshas Matos, the Torah first describes the process of a father annulling the oaths of his daughter (30:4-6), and then afterwards the the law of a husband doing so for his wife's vows (30:7-9). The final verse of the section sums up the above laws:

אֵלֶּה הַחֻקִּים אֲשֶׁר צִוָּה ה' אֶת מֹשֶׁה בֵּין אִישׁ לְאִשְׁתּוֹ בֵּין אָב לְבִתּוֹ בִּנְעֻרֶיהָ בֵּית אָבִיהָ

These are the statutes which the Lord commanded Moses concerning a man and his wife, a father and his daughter, in her youth, while in her father's house.

Why does the verse switch the order around?

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4 Answers

Following on from Judky earlier. The end of the posuk is telling us that this, that the father can annul the vows only applies if she has always been in her fathers house and not been married or sold. The beginning of the posuk is there to provide a 'hekesh' between a father and husband. A hekesh is one of the 13 'middos or ways of'. Meaning the torah was 'shortened' using these 'middos' for instance in our case by stating certain dinim by the father and certain ones by the husband. Then at the very end of the chapter the Torah uses what is called a 'hekesh' meaning that the husband and father are mentioned next to each other to say that although mentioned only with one they also apply to the other. Without this 'hekesh' the Torah would have to be much longer. That could be a reason why one couldn't put the end of the posuk in the middle which one would have to do if the father came first. Although this is perhaps not hundred per cent correct, there are some 'hekesh' in the same posuk which are not next to each other, it is still better if possible to put them next to each other.

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Thanks for your answer, and especially thank you for the effort in writing it clearly. Could you add a source for the fact that words in this posuk are used for a "hekesh"? And is the idea that it's better for words in the same "hekesh" to be next to each other, your own, or did you see it anywhere? If the later, could you source that? –  Michoel May 1 '13 at 7:34
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It is my own that they should be as near as possible.. It is in the sifri and malbim that it is a hekesh. Most likely the gemoro too. –  user2709 May 1 '13 at 13:47
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The gemara in the beginning of Mesechta Nedarim deals with a different situation but says that sometimes what was stated first is explained first and sometimes explained second and vice versa (- it might not fit exactly because in this case (chumash) everything was explained first and then restated later, not stated first and explained later but it could still explain why a switch would be made)

The topic is dealt with in Mesechta Nedarim daf beis amud beis and gimmul amud alef.

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A little off topic but for future ease of writing can someone please tell me how to write in hebrew on this site or should i just write it somewhere else and copy/paste it here. –  MosheY Jul 27 '12 at 1:05
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Rabbi Moshe Leib of Sasov (Sassow?) reinterpreted it as follows: "אֵלֶּה הַחֻקִּים אֲשֶׁר צִוָּה ה׳ אֶת מֹשֶׁה בֵּין אִישׁ לְאִשְׁתּוֹ" — these laws, the Torah, make a connection (צוותא) between a man and his wife on the one hand and God on the other, so that God's immanence (שכינה) dwells with them — "בֵּין אָב לְבִתּוֹ בִּנְעֻרֶיהָ בֵּית אָבִיהָ" — but only if the laws were followed in the now-wife's house when she was growing up in her father's house, i.e. she was properly educated.

Then I suppose "אֲשֶׁר צִוָּה ה׳" would have to be near "בֵּין אִישׁ לְאִשְׁתּוֹ", not near "בֵּין אָב לְבִתּוֹ".

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...but frankly I like the answer implied by DoubleAA's comment on the question better, even if it's sourceless. –  msh210 Jul 24 '12 at 23:03
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I think that "בֵּין אָב לְבִתּוֹ בִּנְעֻרֶיהָ בֵּית אָבִיהָ ובֵּין אִישׁ לְאִשְׁתּוֹ" doesn't sounds good, because the "בִּנְעֻרֶיהָ בֵּית אָבִיהָ" somewhat cuts the sentence. So "בֵּין אָב לְבִתּוֹ" was moved to the end of the sentence.

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