Ki Teitzei very much complements the Torah portion ‘Kedoshim’ featured in the book of Vayikra (Leviticus), which is packed with mitzvot.
One of the mitzvahs in this week’s Torah reading is the mitzvah to help a Jew Load and Unload a burden, for example, if while on a road one Jew sees another that is attempting to load a burden onto an animal or on to another individuals shoulder, he is commanded to help, however he may ask for pay.
If for instance, he sees a fellow Jew who is unloading his animal and there is no other individual to assist, he must help without pay. The Torah teaches us to act mercifully towards our fellow men. As a reward G-d will act merciful on us. In the case where one encounters 2 Jews, one of them loading an animal and the other one unloading the animal, it will be a bigger mitzvah to help with the unloading first in order to relieve the animal of its burden, however interestingly enough there is an exception, if an individual dislikes the Jew who is loading the animal, he is obligated to help that man in order to eliminate his hatred in his heart and he may actually come to like his fellow man. In life, if one feels a dislike for another, they should try to curb that hatred out of themselves and do something good for that person, in turn, getting to like the person.
The parshah actually starts of relating that if a Jewish soldier fighting in the army sees an attractive female captive, and desires her, he can marry and convert her, on condition that she would shave her hair, grow her fingernails and he would see her through a one month period of grieving, this procedure is required as the Torah doesn’t want people to marry on the basis of lust, they want a couple to properly feel for each other, not just on outside appearances but also how they feel inside, within the personality.
The Parshah then continues relating that a first born son is entitled to a double inheritance.
Immediately after this information, the Torah relates information describing a ‘wayward son,’ a man aged between 13 and 13 ¼ years old, who would steal from his father and use the money on wine and meat, if a boy was capable of doing this and many other factors were satisfied he could be taken to the Beit Din (Jewish court) and be punished as the punishment would be a long term atonement and also if he has this behavior at this age, he could be guaranteed to turn out wicked.
Other mitzvahs which are included in this weeks parsha, is the mitzvah to send away the Mother Bird away Before Taking the Fledglings, The reward for this mitzvah is a long life.
The Parshah then describes some of the forbidden marriages in the Torah, including that Jews are not allowed to marry any male Moabites or Ammonites, reasons for this is because they failed to greet the Jews with bread and water when they left Egypt and as we learned in parshat Balak, they hired Bilam, to curse the Jewish nation.
The Mitzvah to Fence in a roof or Pit and to remove Dangerous objects from ones building, is related, this would prevent many potential careless accident from taking place.
The mitzvah of not sowing species other than grapes in a vineyard is related.
The Torah then relates the mitzvah of the Levirate marriage (Yibum), if a husband dies without having any children, his wife could marry the deceased’s brother, and bear children, which would be in merit of the deceased husband.
The Parshah then mentions the mitzvah to have a holy Jewish army, to give harvest gifts to the poor and also another mitzvah is to remind ourselves how G- d punished Miriam as a deterrent against speaking Lashon Hara (Slander). Lashon Hara is said to be as bad or if not even worst than the 3 cardinal sins together and there is a concept that an individual that speaks words of slander about another individual, the victim of the slander will be credited with any of the Mitzvot the slanderer previously had!
The Parshah concludes with the mitzvah to remember the evil which Amalek perpetrated on the Jews and how they tried to wipe them out. We learned about this in parshat Beshalach, after the period of the splitting of the sea, all nations feared Hashem, except for Amalek, as they attacked the Jews from behind, murdering many Jews. Nearly 1000 years after this incident, another Amalekite tried to wipe out all the Jews, Haman, as we learn in the Purim story.
The Haftorah for this weeks reading comes from Chapter 54 in the book of Isaiah, it is the fifth in a series of seven ‘Haftorat of consolation.’
Hope you all have a great Shabbat, Shabbat Shalom! Michael Zaroovabeli from Ohr Sameach Yeshiva.
This Dvar Torah is dedicated to the memory of Sara Yehudit Bat Esther.