[Avodah] V'katsosah ess kapah"

Zvi Lampel zvilampel at gmail.com
Tue Feb 20 13:23:30 PST 2024

("And her palm is trimmed" is probably an unprecedented translation of
"V'katsosah ess kapah" (Devarim 25:12).  But the usual translations, such
as "and you shall cut off her hand" do not address the fact that a "kaf" is
usually a palm, and "you shall" is almost always written without the letter
"hey" [see HaEmek Davar loc.cit.]. But this is besides the point I want to

The one to whom the posuk assigns this consequence is a woman who, to save
her husband from the blows of another man, grabs that man's genitals (an
unnecessarily humiliating and life-threatening move).

The Mishnah (BK 8:1) and Gemara thereon (BK 28a) teach us that this is a
reference to /boshess/--monetary compensation for causing the man's
humiliation. Rambam, Hilchos Chovail Umazik 1:9, states this as the
understanding of the posuk as well. In the introduction to his Mishnah
commentary, he states that this, along with "ayin tachas ayin" etc., is a
payrush mekubal miSinai. And he uses this as an example when illustrating a
false prophet who gives an understanding of a posuk to be different from
the oral law's:
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