Weekly Reading Insights
Overview of the Weekly Reading: Ki Titze
To be read on 9 Elul 5763 (Sep.6)
Torah: Deut. 21:10-25:19:; Haftorah:
54:1-54:10 (fifth of the seven "Haftorahs of Consolation")
Avot - Chapter Two
Stats: Ki Tetze , 6th Reading out of 11 in Deuteronomy and 49th overall, contains 27 positive mitzvot and 47 prohibitive mitzvot. It is written on 213 lines in a Torah parchment scroll, 21 in overall length.
of Ki Taytze is a series of laws. The first describes the process
of converting and marrying women captives of war from other nations. Next are
the laws of a firstborn son's inheritance, the punishment of a rebellious son,
burial of a hanged sinner, returning lost articles, helping a Jew's fallen animal
to stand and return its load, the prohibition to wear clothes of the opposite
gender, removing a mother bird before taking her eggs or young, and placing a
guard rail on the roof of a building. This is followed by the prohibition of planting
together different plant species, plowing with different animal species under
one yoke, and wearing a garment of linen and wool. Male Jews are commanded to
wear tzitzit (fringes) on four cornered garments. Next are the laws of the defamed
wife-accused of false virginity or infidelity-and the consequences when the accusation
is proven true or false. Laws regarding betrothal, rape, incest, bastardry, and
marriage to converts from certain nations are also listed. The Jews are commanded
to be modest even at war, both sexually and when relieving themselves. Jews are
forbidden to return runaway slaves (who came to Israel from elsewhere) to their
masters. The Jews are forbidden to be promiscuous, and to deduct interest from
other Jews. They are also required to fulfill vows on time, allow employees to
eat from produce they are working with, and are explained the laws of divorce
and remarriage. A bridegroom is not allowed to be drafted; a millstone may not
be used as security for a loan; and a kidnapper's punishment is described. The
Jews are reminded to be careful about laws of leprosy, how to take security for
loans, and to pay wages on time. Certain close relatives may not testify against
each other; widows and orphans must be treated properly; forgotten harvested produce
must be left in the field for the needy; flogging by court order must be exact;
and animals may not be muzzled when treading grain. When a man dies leaving his
wife childless, his brother or closest kinsman is commanded to marry her. The
laws of such a case are described as well as a situation where the relative chooses
not to marry the widow. Next is the law concerning a woman who became involved
in an assault on her husband. The Jews are reminded to be honest in their weights
and measures, and to remember how Amalek attacked the Jews when we went out of
FROM THE CHASSIDIC REBBES (V:49-63Ki Tetze )
"When you build a new house you shall make a parapet for your roof... if anyone fall from it." (22:8)
When a couple marries and makes the transition from their parents' homes to their own, the need to earn a livelihood brings them into contact with many new things. They must therefore make a "parapet" beforehand, setting the proper limits and spiritual standards, to ensure that no harm comes from their involvement in worldly matters.
(The Lubavitcher Rebbe)
A MYSTICAL CHASSIDIC DISCOURSE (M: 49-63Ki Tetze)
FROM THE MASTERS OF KABBALA (K:49-63Ki Tetze )
Selected with permission
and adapted from the three-volume English edition of Shney Luchot HaBrit
-- the Sh'lah, as translated, condensed, and annotated by Eliyahu Munk.
the teachings of Rabbi Shlomo Alkabetz of Safed.
of this occurs when the sinner had failed to repent properly while he lived on
this earth. This is why it is appropriate even for a person who is not knowingly
guilty of any major sins in his present life on earth to repent thoroughly for
any sins he may have been guilty of in a previous incarnation and for which he
had not then obtained forgiveness. If such a person engages in thorough repentance
in this round of life on earth, the vicious circle of transmigration will be broken
and his soul will find eternal rest in the Hereafter, not needing to return to
life on this earth again.
An essay from Rabbi Shaul Yosef Leiter, director of Ascent
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(W:49-63Ki Titze )
After reading the weekly parasha on Shabbat morning, we also read the first section from the coming week's portion each Shabbat afternoon. This shows the continuity and connectedness of the Torah. This week, however, the two portions appear to be clear opposites. Ki Tetze speaks about going out to war, the most unstable of situations. Next week, Ki Tavo speaks about entering and settling the Land. The former focuses on the service that is required of each of us; the latter describes the reward.
Where is the continuity? The Lubavitcher Rebbe answers that "When you come into the Land " (from Ki Tavo) describes how we are supposed to go about "go to war on your enemies" (from Ki Tetze). The daily battle we wage in conquering the world for positive purposes has to be done in a settled and restful way. I am in control of my environment, it does not control me. When we allow ourselves to be swallowed up by situations, then we become only a detail in Creation. In truth, a Jew exists on a plane that is based on a reality that supersedes the world. This is clear from the first verses of our portion: "When you go out to war on your enemies" - a Jew is always above, i.e., "on", the world. From this perspective, the sole option is "and the Lord your G-d will place them in your control".
The parasha continues "And you will take prisoners [in Hebrew, 'shivyo']". "Shivyo", actually translates as "their prisoners", i.e., the prisoners of your enemies. These "prisoners" refer to the last few sparks of divinity still trapped in exile in the physical world. How do we "capture" and elevate these sparks in a restful and settled way? By knowing that all we need to do is make the effort, and G-d will definitely guarantee our success.
These ideas are also applicable to our divine service during the month of Elul, the last month of the year. At this time we make an accounting of our actions and rectify what is lacking. Our efforts result in a blessed coming year. This parallels the arrangement of "When you go out to war ", and "When you come into the Land ". These Torah portions give us not only the ability to conquer our difficulties, but to do so in a true manner of calm confidence.
The Rebbe Rayatz said that teshuva - returning to our Jewish roots - is incumbent upon us during Elul. Teshuva is composed of 3 things: fixing the present, regretting the past, and resolutions for the future. Only when we have properly fixed the present, are we able to properly manage the past and set the right boundaries for the future. Without first repairing the present, any attempt to deal with the past or future will not bring about the desired results.
Shabbat Shalom, Shaul Leiter
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For all our insights for this parsha from last year