Weekly Reading Insights: Ki Titzei 5765


Overview of the Weekly Reading: Ki Titzei

To be read on 13 Elul 5765 (Sept. 17)

Torah: Deut. 21:10-25:18
Haftorah: Isaiah 54:1-10 (5th of the Seven Haftorahs of Consolation)

Pirkei Avot Chapter 1-2

Ki Titzei is the 6th Reading out of 11 in Deut. and 49th overall, and 21st out of 54 in overall length.

Much of Ki Titzei 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 Egypt.


From the holy Zohar, teachings of Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai (Z:49-65/Ki Titzei)

Now if you say that this angel Metatron is a commoner, this is only correct when compared to the Master of all blessings [G-d]. We are warned not to take the blessing of an ordinary person lightly, and that "ordinary person" is a commoner compared to a King; [this commoner is] the servant Metatron. Now Adam, the first man, didn't safeguard the honor that was given to him.

For the full article, click to the "Weekly Torah" section on our KabbalaOnline site.

* * * * *

From the holy Ari, Rabbi Yitzchak Luria of Safed (A:49-65/Ki Titzei)

Know, that the hair of Zeir Anpin is black, due to the influence of the states of gevura [which produce this hair]. [His hair] is black as a raven, due to [the influence of] the attribute of judgment.

For the full article, click to the "Weekly Torah" section on our KabbalaOnline site.

* * * * *

From the Ba'al Shem Tov (S:49-65/Ki Titzei)

However, the "shell" of sin prevents the arousal of this goodness Above. But when a person repents, the eleme

For the full article, click to the "Weekly Torah" section on our KabbalaOnline site.


"You shall not wear a garment of different sorts (sha'atnez), wool and linen together." (22:11)
According to Chasidut, wool and linen are symbolic of chesed and gevura, the opposite attributes of loving-kindness and severity. When a Jew observes a positive mitzva, a "do," he draws nearer to him the object or thing with which he performs the mitzva. When he observes one of the Torah's prohibitions, a "don't," he avoids something that is forbidden and pushes it away. The mitzva of sha'atnez reminds us that the two opposing thrusts mustn't be confused or combined: that which is forbidden should be shunned, and that which is holy and positive should be encouraged.
(The Rebbe, Elul 5744) (from L'chaim #684)


from the Chabad Master series, produced by Rabbi Yosef Marcus for

www.ascentofsafed.com and www.kabbalaonline.org

MOSHIACH THIS WEEK (M:49-65/Ki Titzei)

When you go forth to war against your enemies, and the L-rd your G-d will deliver him into your hand, and you have taken them captive (Deut. 21:10)
These words refer to the descent of the soul, "a veritable part of G-d Above," into the physical world. Its mission, enclothed within a physical body, is to wage war and conquer the material world by infusing it with holiness, learning Torah and observing its commandments. This conflict will reach its successful conclusion with the coming of Moshiach, when G-dliness will reign triumphant.
(Peninei Hageula)

[Reprinted with permission from L'Chaim Magazine (www.lchaim.org).]

An essay from Rabbi Shaul Yosef Leiter, director of Ascent

(for a free weekly email subscription, click here) (W:49-65/Ki Titzei)

This week's Torah portion, Ki Tetzei, is always read during the beginning of the month of Elul, the month of repentance and good deeds for the Jewish people. The Torah reading begins, "When you go out to war against [literally 'on'] your enemies, and G-d your Lord will place them into your hands, and you will take prisoners" (Deut. 21:10). The Lubavitcher Rebbe explains, "When you go out…", means if only we would truly go out and fight; "… your enemies" - who are our enemies? The desires of our bodies and animal soul (which connects us to this physical reality, as opposed to our G-dly soul which connects us to the spiritual plane); "…And G-d your Lord will put them into your hand", means you will most certainly, with G-d's help, succeed and conquer them; Not only that, but, "…and you will take prisoners", meaning you will even be able to take advantage of the enormous strength of your animal soul and turn it towards holiness, as the verse says, "There is much in the strength of an ox" (Proverbs 14).

He goes on to point out that Rashi hints to us where we are supposed to focus our efforts. Rashi writes, "The verse is speaking about an optional war." When we are speaking from the perspective of a person's spiritual growth during the month of Elul, what is a "mandatory war" and what is an "optional war"? A mandatory war is the directed efforts we make to bring the light of holiness to those parts of our environment with which we are in regular, "obligatory", contact (family, friends, and co-workers). An optional war is the process of directing our efforts and trying to elevate the more peripheral zone of our lives, our social life, what we do for entertainment, how we use our spare time - the "extras".

When Rashi says that the verses here are speaking about an optional war, he is really telling us that even the war on the optional portions of our lives is a command and Torah obligation, as the first word of the verse so clearly says, "When [not if] you go out to war…". Additionally, we are guaranteed victory if we keep one condition: that our war is "on your enemies", that you fight on - from above - your enemies, using the strength of our G-dly soul, to conquer. It is then that "…
G-d, your Lord, will place them into your hands".

The Lubavitcher Rebbe insists that if we had already completed all of our work, Mashiach would be here already! In fact, everyone knows, on a personal level, that the element of Mashiach in his or her own soul has not yet arrived. So what should we do? Work harder not just on our relations with G-d, but also with our fellow Jews; we must be especially careful to treat each person in the best possible way, greeting each individual positively. We learn this from the analogy that during Elul, the King (G-d) is in the field, going out to meet even His most simple subjects. If the King meets us with joy, how much more so is it required of each of us to treat each of our neighbors with respect and kindness.

May it be G-d's will that even just the merit of discussing these things, will enable Mashiach to come immediately. May each of us be signed and sealed for a good and sweet year.

Shabbat Shalom, Shaul

P.S. Please also read my weekly Shabbat Law, below.)

(for a free weekly email subscription, click here)

For all our insights for this parsha:

from last year

from two years ago

from three years ago

Back to Top


Redesign and implementation - By WEB-ACTION