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Home » Ki Tetze

Ki Teze: Food for Thought for your DinnerTable

Submitted by on September 5, 2008 – 8:44 pmNo Comment | 2,406 views

Sunday: Internal Conflict

“When you go out to war against your enemies and G-d will deliver him into your hands.” There are two anomalies in this verse. First, why does the Torah use the phrase, “go out to war” when it would be sufficient to say go to war? Second, why does the Torah specify that the war is against an enemy? Is it not obvious that wars are fought against enemies?

Wars are often fought among brothers. Powerful armies have lost wars because generals fought among themselves rather than against their enemy. The Torah therefore informs us that wars must be reserved only for when we “go out” of our camp and face the enemy. When we face each other within our camp, we must be united. Under these conditions, G-d assures us of victory. Kli Yakar

Monday: Respecting Elders

The Torah promises long life for the performance of two Mitzvos, honouring our parents and sending away the mother chick before removing its eggs. The common theme of both Mitzvos is respect for parents and the reward for both is long life.

We respect our parents for many reasons including the fact that they are one generation closer to the original parent, G-d. This concept applies to all species not only to humans. We are sensitive to the mother chick because she is one generation closer to the original chick which was created by G-d. By respecting our elders we thus respect G-d and acknowledge our Creator. The reward for acknowledging that G-d created and gave us life is the blessing of long life. Kli Yakar

Tuesday: Lonely Cry

A man who sleeps with a woman in the field is executed, however, the woman is set free “for he found her in the field, the woman cried out, but no one came to her aid.” The relationship between man and woman is a metaphor for the relationship between us and G-d. G-d is the husband and the soul is the wife. There are times when the woman goes astray and turns from G-d, but the wife’s soul, remains faithful to G-d even during sin. “She is in the field” a field is an uninhabited place. In spiritual terms this refers to a place uninhabited by those who perform Mitzvos. Even in this Mitzvah-less environment, the soul “cries out, but no one comes to her aid,” because in the field no one can hear her call.

The moral is that even if we stray our soul remains faithful. It is not difficult to return because return does not constitute a reversal, but faithfulness to our soul’s true and constant direction. Ohr Hatorah

Wednesday: Secrets

“When you go out to war against your enemies you must guard yourself against all wicked things.” The Ramban understands this verse as an injunction against undisciplined behaviour, such as theft and rape, of marauding armies. Other commentaries see a more subtle injunction in this verse. When you go to war be exceedingly careful against gossip. During World War II there was a slogan, “loose lips sink ships.” One never knows who might be listening and where one’s words might be carried. One must therefore be exceedingly tight lipped with regards to all forms of information that can be utilized by the enemy. Closing ranks in this absolute sense is not only tactically wise, but also spiritually helpful because such unity is a vehicle for G-d’s blessing of victory. Meshech Chochmo

Thursday: Divorce

Jews perceive marriage as a holy union ordained, blessed and even graced by G-d. This reverence toward marriage seems inconsistent with the Torah’s sanction of divorce. Why is divorce not forbidden by Jewish law?

This can be explained through a parable. A man was sitting at home for three days when a Police Officer entered and placed him under house arrest. Two minutes into his arrest the man felt trapped in his home. He was at home for three full days and felt comfortable, now he can’t even stand a single moment in his own home.  It is human nature. We don’t mind staying at home so long as we have the option of leaving, once the option is removed we feel imprisoned rather than at home. The same is true of marriage. Ish Ubeiso

Friday: Internal Causes

The Torah speaks of a skin condition called Tzaraas as that was caused by the sin of gossip.  Treating this sin involves a visit to the Kohein and a seven (sometimes fourteen) day quarantine. Even a single blotch of Tzaraas was sufficient to send a man to quarantine. Men were obviously tempted to hide or even remove the surface signs of Tzaraas, which is why the Torah enjoins us, “guard the affliction of Tzaraas.” In the very next verse the Torah commands us to remember when G-d caused Tzaraas to appear on the skin of Miriam because she spoke ill of her brother Moshe. The juxtaposition of these two verses gives us insight as to why it is forbidden to tamper with the surface signs of Tzaraas.

We must remember that Tzaraas is caused by G-d in punishment for sin as we clearly saw in the case of Miriam. Excising the physical symptom will not solve the problem, we must address the cause of the problem in order to solve it and the cause is of course the sins for which we must repent. Or Hachayim

Shabbat: Fighting Apathy

We are commanded to remember daily what the tribe of Amalek did to us. “They happened upon us . . .” and attacked us. The Hebrew word, Karcha, means ‘happened upon you’ and it means ‘cooled you’. The latter interpretation is relevant to us today in our observance of this commandment.

We must always be alert to the danger of apathy. Even the Jew who is observant from birth is at risk of growing indifferent and emotionally uninvolved with Torah. We must reflect every day on the reasons behind our devotion and on the many ways that Judaism impacts our life. The spiritual Amalek represents our capacity for apathy; it constantly lurks and we must always guard against it. Likutei Sichos

Edited by Rabbi Yeruchem Eilfort, Director of Chabad at La Costa.

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