Rabbi Berzanky - Parshas Ki Seitzei
A House, a Vineyard, and an Ox
ּ כִי יִּקָרֵא קַן צִפֹור... ּכִי תִבְנֶה ּבַיִת חָדָש(כב, ו–יד)
If a bird’s nest happens before you…If you build a new house…
Chazal teach us that the performance of one mitzvah, even a
minor one, creates a spiritual chain reaction that opens up
opportunities for other mitzvos to follow, no matter what
the cost. Chazal call this natural phenomenon “mitzvah goreres mitzvah”
— that one mitzvah brings another mitzvah. With this concept, Rashi
explains how seven seemingly unrelated pesukim are, in truth, related.
The first two of the seven pesukim discuss the mitzvah of shiluach
hakein — sending away the mother bird from her nest. Rashi ex-
plains that one who performs this mitzvah will merit another mitz-
vah: the mitzvah of ma’akah — putting a fence around one’s roof.
Since it is impossible to perform the mitzvah of ma’akah without
a home, Hashem will grant him a home to facilitate it. Hence, the
mitzvah of shiluach ha-kein brought about the mitzvah of ma’akah,
which actually caused him to have a home.
After he fences his roof, Hashem will give him the opportunity to
fulfill the mitzvah of kilayim, which is the fourth pasuk in our list
of seven.Since one cannot fulfill this mitzvah without a vineyard,
Hashem will grant him a vineyard. Then, Hashem will grant him a
field, oxen, and donkeys in order to fulfill the negative mitzvah of
not plowing with a donkey and ox simultaneously, and so on and
This spiritual chain reaction is so significant that Hashem will
provide him with whatever he needs in order to facilitate the next
mitzvah — be it a house, vineyard, field, or donkeys and oxen for
The Be’er Yosef understands that if a person who executed the
mitzvah of shiluach ha-kein would not put a fence on the roof of
his home, he would be causing himself to lose his home! He did not
receive his home as a reward for performing the preceding mitzvah;
it was given to him in order to fulfill the next mitzvah of ma’akah.
Therefore, if he does not place a fence on it, he would be forgoing his
rights to the home.
Rashi brings Targum Onkelos that translates the word ma’akah
(fence) in the pasuk as takia, which means “a bag.” Rashi explains
that the fence around the rooftop protects the people that are inside
of it from falling, just as a bag protects what is inside of it.
However, the Be’er Yosef explains that the fence protects the house
itself for its owners. It enables them to hold onto it. Since the whole
reason why he merited this house was in order to fulfill the mitzvah
associated with it, when he fulfills that mitzvah, he is in truth insur-
ing the security of his home, just as a bag insures the security of its
Within this Rashi lies an eye-opening insight into all of our
acquisitions. We should not amass acquisitions for the sake of
owning them. Rather, we should view our acquisitions in light of the mitzvahs that we can do with them. It could be that the sole reason why somebody has a specific possession is in order to do a certain mitzvah with it. It follows from this that life is about amassing mitzvahs, not acquisitions; the acquisitions are secondary
to the mitzvah. They are there to help us in our performance of the