Author Topic: According to Rashi Our War Against the 7 Nations of Canaan is not a Genetic War  (Read 2968 times)

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Offline edu

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According to Rashi Our War Against the 7 Nations of Canaan is not a Genetic War against all those that carry the Canaanite Genes.
The reason we fight them is to conquer the land of Israel.
For the sake of ease I will use the translations of The Pentateuch and Rashi's Commentary on Deuteronomy by Rabbis, Ben-Isaiah and Sharfman (and others) to Deuteronomy (Dvarim) 21:10
"When thou goest forth to battle against thine enemies and the L-rd thy G-d delivereth them into thine hands, and thou carriest them away captive"
Rashi comments. When thou goest forth to battle concerning an optional war does Scripture speak, for regarding the war for the land of Israel it cannot be said, "and thou carriest them away captive," for it has already been stated (Deut. 20:16):
"Thou shalt save alive nothing that breatheth."
And thou carriest them away captive
(This comes) to include the Canaanites who are in it, although they are of the Seven Nations (Siphre; Sotah 35).

Offline Southern Noachide

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Doesn't Rambam in Sefer HaMelakhim uMilchamoteyhem say that the commandment to exterminate the Seven Nations of Canaan will be in effect for all time?

Offline muman613

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Doesn't Rambam in Sefer HaMelakhim uMilchamoteyhem say that the commandment to exterminate the Seven Nations of Canaan will be in effect for all time?

I don't think that is the case. The 7 nations had been destroyed in order to enter the land. The only nation which we must continue to wage war against is Amalek.

I will look into the question further.
You shall make yourself the Festival of Sukkoth for seven days, when you gather in [the produce] from your threshing floor and your vat.And you shall rejoice in your Festival-you, and your son, and your daughter, and your manservant, and your maidservant, and the Levite, and the stranger, and the orphan, and the widow, who are within your cities
Duet 16:13-14

Offline muman613

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There is a positive mitzvah the destroy the seven nations. But since these nations no longer exist we must remember that we did wipe them out...



http://www.chabad.org/library/article_cdo/aid/961561/jewish/Positive-Commandment-187.htm

The 187th mitzvah is that we are commanded to kill and destroy the seven nations [of Canaan]1 because they are the prime worshippers and original source of idolatry.

The source of this commandment is G‑d's statement2 (exalted be He), "You must wipe them out completely." [Scripture3] explains the reason for this commandment is to keep us from learning from their heresy. Many verses encourage and urge that they be killed, and waging war against them is a milchemes mitzvah [mandatory war].

Since these seven nations no longer exist4 a person could think that this commandment is not noheg l'doros [for all generations5]. But only someone who does not understand the concept of noheg l'doros would think such a thing. A command that can be fulfilled without being limited to a certain time is considered noheg l'doros, because if the act would become possible in any generation, the mitzvah would apply. When G‑d will totally destroy the descendants of Amalek and remove them for all time — as will be speedily in our days, as G‑d (exalted be He) promised,6 "I will wipe out the memory of Amalek" — will we say that the mitzvah to wipe out the memory of Amalek7 was not noheg l'doros? This is not true, for in any generation when one finds a descendant of Amalek, he must be killed. The same applies to this mitzvah of killing all descendants of the seven nations, which is a milchemes mitzvah. In every generation we are required to uproot them and search after them down to the last individual. We did this until King David destroyed them completely, with the survivors being scattered and assimilated among the nations until they disappeared.

But although they no longer exist, the mitzvah to kill them is still considered noheg l'doros, just as the mitzvah to wage war against Amalek is considered noheg l'doros even after their destruction. This is because it is not dependant on a certain time or place, such as in Egypt8 or in the desert.9 The mitzvah is dependant solely upon the object of the mitzvah: whenever they are found, the mitzvah must be fulfilled.

The general rule is that you must understand and contemplate upon the difference between the commandment itself10 and this that the commandment deals with.11 There are mitzvos where the object of the commandment has ceased to exist in a certain generation,12 but this does not render the mitzvah not noheg l'doros, since the commandment itself applies forever.

For a commandment to be considered not noheg l'doros, the opposite would be true. The specific object in the specific state does exist; but the obligation to perform the specific act or follow the certain law only applies at a certain time. Today, even though the object exists, the commandment does not. An example of this would be an elderly Levite, who was not allowed to serve [in the Mishkan] in the desert, but is allowed today, as we explained in the proper place.13 Be sure you understand this and keep it in mind.
You shall make yourself the Festival of Sukkoth for seven days, when you gather in [the produce] from your threshing floor and your vat.And you shall rejoice in your Festival-you, and your son, and your daughter, and your manservant, and your maidservant, and the Levite, and the stranger, and the orphan, and the widow, who are within your cities
Duet 16:13-14

Offline Southern Noachide

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Thank you for your response.  I appreciate it.

My source was Rabbi Abraham Chill's book The Mitzvot, which states that the commandment to exterminate the Canaanites will be valid for all time even though they have probably long ceased to exist.

Offline edu

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There is an argument between Rambam and Ramban (Nachmanides) how broad is the definition of the 7 nations of Canaan and the extent of the obligation to conquer Israel in modern times.
Rabbi Yisrael of Shklov, author Peat Hashulchan and disciple of the Vilna Gaon, rules in accordance with Ramban (Nachmanides).

Offline edu

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One point however that Rabbi Yisrael of Shklov, author Peat Hashulchan makes is somewhat controversial. He claimed that Rambam held that the mitzva of living in the land of Israel in our times is only Rabbinic.
Many Rabbis interpret Rambam differently. They claim that Rambam left out the mitzva of living in the land of Israel from his list of 613 commandments for technical reasons even though it is a biblical mitzva.
Rabbi Teichtal in Eim Habanim Smeicha and many others hold that the mitzva of living in the land of Israel is a mitzva that encompasses the whole Torah. And Rambam in his introduction to Sefer Hamitzvot says he doesn't count these type of commandments that encompass the whole Torah on his list of 613. That is why living in the land of Israel is not on Rambam's list.
Rabbi Yisrael Ariel contended that Rambam doesn't count details of a mitzva as a separate mitzva. So for example, he doesn't count making a menora as a separate mitzva because (according to Rambam) it is just a detail of another mitzva, namely, that of building the Temple.
Rabbi Ariel contended that living in the land of Israel according to Rambam is a detail of another mitzva and that is why it is not listed on Rambam's list of 613 commandments.