THE TORAH PORTION FOR THIS SHABBAT 13 ELUL 5781 August 20-21, 2021
KETIVAH V’CHATIMAH TOVAH
ְPARSHA – Deuteronomy 21:10-25:19
Ki Tëtzë’ (כִּי־תֵצֵא — Hebrew for “when you go out (to battle)”)
- Moses reviews a wide variety of laws regarding family, animals, and property. (21:10–22:12)
- Various civil and criminal laws are delineated, including those regarding sexual relationships, interaction with non-Israelites, loans, vows, and divorce. (22:13–24:5)
- Laws of commerce pertaining to loans, fair wages, and proper weights and measures are given. (24:10–25:16)
- The parashah concludes with the commandment to remember for all time the most heinous act committed against the Israelites—Amalek’s killing of the old, weak, and infirm after the Israelites left Egypt. (25:17–19)
Isaiah 54:1-10 is the fifth haftarah in the cycle of seven haftarot of consolation after Tisha B’Av, leading up to Rosh Hashanah. This year Rosh Hashanah begins in about two weeks on the evening of Monday, September 6, 2021.
STRUGGLING WITH TORAH
Ki-Tëtzë’ – when you go
We are still in the oldest part of Devarim, Chapters 12–26, containing the Deuteronomic Code (sometimes abbreviated Dtn). Scholars say Deuteronomy was written mostly during the reign of King Josiah (640-609 BCE).
The parashah sets out a series of miscellaneous laws, mostly governing civil and domestic life, including ordinances regarding a beautiful captive of war, inheritance among the sons of two wives, a wayward son, the corpse of an executed person, found property, coming upon another in distress, rooftop safety, prohibited mixtures, sexual offenses, membership in the congregation, camp hygiene, runaway slaves, prostitution, usury, vows, gleaning, kidnapping, repossession, prompt payment of wages, vicarious liability, flogging, treatment of domestic animals, levirate marriage (יִבּוּם, yibbum), weights and measures, and wiping out the memory of Amalek.
Professor Benjamin Sommer of the Jewish Theological Seminary of America argued that Deuteronomy 12–26 borrowed whole sections from the earlier text of Exodus 21–23. Rabbi Donniel Hartman, an Israeli Modern Orthodox rabbi and educator, argued that Deuteronomy 22:1–3 contains one of Judaism’s central answers to the question of what is just and right, what he called “the religious ethic of nonindifference.”
[Deuteronomy 23:8-24:13, the triennial reading for this year, covers a wide range of commandments: Admission to the congregation, nocturnal emissions, camp hygiene, refugee slaves, prostitution, interest on loans, vows, workers eating grapes and plucked grain, remarriage by divorced women, newlyweds and military service, taking a person’s livelihood, kidnapping, and skin affections. It ends with borrowers’ pledges.]
During the Temple Sinai Tuesday Morning Minyan the “darshan” (Heb. דַּרְשָׁן – deliverer of the d’rash), speaking on this week’s Parsha, pointed out that it alone contains 74 of the 613 mitzvot found in Torah. That is more than 10%. [Along with those found in the last two Portions, Re’ëh and Shof’tim, the three Parashot, account for 170 mitzvot or about 28% of the purported commandments in Torah.]
Edited From Wikipedia.org https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/613_commandments
According to Jewish tradition, there are 613 commandments in Torah. That number was first mentioned in the 3rd Century CE by Rabbi Simlai in a sermon recorded in Talmud Makkot 23b. They include “positive commandments”, to perform an act, and are said to number 365, the number of days in the solar year. The “negative commandments”, to abstain from certain acts, are said to number 248 which is believed to equal the number of bones and main organs in the human body. [The pomegranate, an important symbol in Judaism, is said to contain 613 seeds.]
Although mentioned in the Talmud, the number 613 increased in real significance in medieval rabbinic literature. The most famous of these was an enumeration of the 613 commandments by Maimonides. Even though they retain religious significance, many of them cannot be observed now since the destruction of the Second Temple.
By one reckoning, there are 77 positive and 194 negative mitzvot that can be observed today. Of these, there are 26 commands that apply only within the Land of Israel. Some are time-related commandments from which women are exempt (e.g., include shofar, sukkah, lulav, tzitzit and tefillin). Some depend on the special status of a person in Judaism (such as kohanim), while others apply only to men or only to women.
The tzitzit (“knotted fringes”) of the tallit (“[prayer] shawl”) are connected to the 613 commandments by interpretation: principal Torah commentator Rashi bases the number of knots on a gematria: the word tzitzit (Hebrew: ציצת (Biblical), ציצית, in its Mishnaic spelling) has the value 600. Each tassel has eight threads (when doubled over) and five sets of knots, totaling 13. The sum of all numbers is 613. This reflects the concept that donning a garment with tzitzit reminds its wearer of all Torah commandments.
The 613 commandments do not constitute a formal code of present-day halakha. Later codes of law such as the Shulkhan Arukh and Kitzur Shulkhan Arukh do not refer to it. There is no single definitive list that explicates the 613 commandments. Even so, the number 613 has become accepted as normative among practicing Jews and today it is still common practice to refer to the total system of commandments within the Torah as the “613 commandments”, even among those who do not literally accept this count as accurate.
HIGH HOLY DAYS
The health and safety of our members and friends is of utmost importance. As clearly explained in Dr. Sam Caron’s email of 8/16/21, due to new issues with the pandemic Temple Kol Hamidbar has decided to forego providing either in person or online Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur Services. However, we will have 6 PM online Torah Study and a 7:30 PM Shazoom Service for Shabbat Shuvah on Friday, September 10, 2021.
To help make the High Holy Days as meaningful as possible, the Union for Reform Judaism and various congregations within the Reform Movement are providing free online resources to anyone interested in participating in services. As a result, in addition to those listed in Dr. Caron’s email, you may want to visit the following websites for their latest information on the High Holy Days and how to access them.
Temple Emanu-El in Tucson, AZ https://www.tetucson.org/
Temple Sinai in Oakland, CA https://www.oaklandsinai.org/
The Union for Reform Judaism https://urj.org/
From “Mishkan T’filah / A Reform Siddur”:
FOR OUR COUNTRY p.516
THUS SAYS ADONAI, This is what I desire: to unlock the fetters of wickedness, and untie the cords of lawlessness; to let the oppressed go free, to break off every yoke. Share your bread with the hungry, and take the wretched poor into your home. When you see the naked, give clothing, and do not ignore your own kin.
O GUARDIAN of life and liberty, may our nation always merit Your protection. Teach us to give thanks for what we have by sharing it with those who are in need. Keep our eyes open to the wonders of creation, and alert to the care of the earth. May we never be lazy in the work of peace; may we honor those who have [served, suffered or] died in defense of our ideals. Grant our leaders wisdom and forbearance. May they govern with justice and compassion. Help us all to appreciate one another, and to respect the many ways that we may serve You. May our homes be safe from affliction and strife, and our country be sound in body and spirit. Amen.
We recite MI SHEBËRACH for the victims of abuse, brutality, conflicts, fear, natural disasters, pandemics, tragedies, violence especially against all minority communities including us, and war; for all those at home alone or lonely; for all those in need of physical, emotional, and mental healing. “R’fuah sh’lëmah” – a complete recovery!
We say KADDISH YATOM for those of our friends and families who have died and been buried this last week; those in the period of Sh’loshim (30 days since burial); those who have died in the last year; and those whose Yahrzeits/Anyos occur at this time; as well as the victims of brutality, conflict, disease, natural disasters, pandemics, tragedies, violence of all kinds, and war.
This coming week, the 13th through the 19th of Elul, we lovingly remember:
Those victims of the Sho’ah (Holocaust) who died at this time of year.
“ZICHRONAM LIV’RACHAH” – MAY THEIR MEMORIES BE FOR BLESSING.
TORAH STUDY AND SHAZOOM
Al sh’loshah d’varim ha’olam omëd – The world is sustained by three things: Torah, worship and loving deeds. We will meet as usual at the regular times for Torah Study and Shazoom this evening, Friday, August 20, 2021.
All are greatly encouraged to have on hand Shabbat candles, wine/grape juice for Kiddush, and Challah for Motzi for the blessings during the Service, hence bringing Shabbat into your presence a bit more tangibly. During Elul we will continue to hear the Shofar sounded at the beginning of the Service to welcome Shabbat.
Zoom continues updating its security and performance features. Making sure you have the latest version of Zoom, please join us online this evening:
Topic: Torah Study – Triennial Reading Deut. 23:8-24:13
Time: August 20, 2021 06:00 PM Arizona
Shazoom – Erev Shabbat Service
Time: August 20, 2021 07:30 PM Arizona
To join the Torah Study and/or Shazoom click on the following link [you may need to copy it into your browser]: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/72510500854?pwd=Z3VQZWF4U1BBZytNYmh3aHFTWkFDZz09
Meeting ID: 725 1050 0854
Hint: The last character of the password is the number zero.
Shabbat Shalom – Buen Shabbat!