KETIVAH VECHATIMA TOVAH – A GOOD WRITING AND SEALING!
- One thing I ask of the Eternal One, only that do I seek:
to live in the house of the Eternal One all the days of my life,
to gaze upon the beauty of the Eternal One, to frequent God’s temple.
- God will shelter me in God’s pavilion on an evil day,
grant me the protection of God’s tent, raise me high upon a rock.
- Now is my head high over my enemies roundabout;
I sacrifice in God’s tent with shouts of joy,
singing and chanting a hymn to the Eternal One.
From ReformJudaism.org https://reformjudaism.org/torah/portion/ki-teitzei
Ki Teitzei (כִּי־תֵצֵא — Hebrew for “when you go out (to battle)”)
When you [an Israelite warrior] take the field against your enemies, and the Eternal your God delivers them into your power and you take some of them captive, and you see among the captives a beautiful woman and you desire her and would take her to wife…. – Deuteronomy 21:10-11
- 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 the holiday of Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year, which this year begins the evening of Sunday, September 25, 2022.
From ReformJudaism.org https://reformjudaism.org/torah/portion/ki-teitzei
By: Rabbi Jacqueline Mates-Muchin [Senior Rabbi, Temple Sinai, Oakland CA]
STRUGGLING WITH TORAH and REFLECTION
You can read this week’s Torah Portion at https://www.sefaria.org/Deuteronomy.21.10-25.19
From “The Torah / A Women’s Commentary” edited by Dr. Tamara Cohn Eskenazi and Rabbi Andrea L. Weiss, Ph.D.
קי תצא Ki Teitzei – Deuteronomy 21:10–25:19
Relationships and Society by Adele Berlin, p. 1165
PARASHAT KI TEITZEI (“when you go out”) contains a wide range of criminal, civil, and family laws, featuring many of the humane precepts for which Deuteronomy is justly famous. The topics addressed include relationships within households (between men, women, and children), among neighbors, between the underprivileged and other members of society, and even between humans and animals. As elsewhere, notably in the preceding parashah, Deuteronomy is concerned with the formation of an ideal Israelite society. However, whereas parashat Shof’tim concentrates on public officials, most of the laws in Ki Teitzei are directed at ordinary individuals. What may have once been considered family matters–such as the rights of a lesser-loved wife, the punishment of wayward children, the finding of lost objects–here are matters of concern to the society at large that must be legislated publicly. The goal is to create a balanced society in which the poor and weak are legally protected from the rich and strong, in which both property and human lives are respected, and–most importantly–in which individuals are subject to the community and its laws.
While some laws in this parashah seem to follow a logical or topical order, others appear to have been inserted at random. Most of the laws offer no reason or justification for adhering to them; but some refer to events recounted earlier in the Torah, such as the skin affliction of Miriam (24:9). The repeated mention of God’s approval or disapproval (as in 24:13 and 22:5) reminds us that no matter how secular the laws of Deuteronomy may appear to us, the book presents them as being on behalf of–and through–the will of God.
Issues pertaining to women are prominent in this parashah. They include the treatment of a captive woman, forced sex, accusations of non-virginity, divorce, and levirate marriage. Much in the ideal society that Deuteronomy envisions revolves around the status of women, generally their sexual status as wives or potential wives. Since the family unit is the basis of society, marriage and the women’s position in the family unit are important. Deuteronomy advocates chastity before marriage but, at the same time, protects women in cases where premarital sex was forced upon them; however, the penalty for promiscuous sex is severe. Most of all, Deuteronomy seeks to ensure that women marry, for ancient Israelite society offered no good place for an adult unmarried woman.
Another View – by Diana Lipton, p. 1185
THE LEGISLATION IN 24:1–4 deals not with divorce so much as with remarriage. The text mentions only in passing that grounds for divorce include ervat davar, translated here as “something obnoxious” in a woman (v. 1), and that a sefer k’ritut, a “bill of divorcement,” changes hands (v. 3). The real concern of this section is to prohibit a man from remarrying a woman who had taken a new husband in the meantime, even if the subsequent marriage ended legitimately.
It remains unclear what, if anything, these verses signify about contractual relations between husbands and wives in ancient Israel; but what lessons can we draw from the text itself? Some commentators claim that this legislation is meant to guard against confusion over paternity; others posit that it discourages men from divorcing in haste and repenting at leisure. Yet these ends could be achieved without a new-husband clause, so why not simply prohibit remarriage to the same wife? One possible answer is that the new-husband clause might create a measure of autonomy for the woman, who is otherwise a passive party under biblical marriage law. She can put herself off limits to her first husband by agreeing to become another man’s spouse, or she can signal her commitment to her first husband by remaining single.
But why would the male authors of this text legislate for female autonomy? Perhaps because of the intriguing theological implications as set forth in the book of Jeremiah. Along with some other prophets, Jeremiah envisages a metaphorical marriage in which God is the husband and Israel the wife who has done “something obnoxious” or “unseemly” (3:8). Israel has been unfaithful with many lovers (3:1), meaning that she has worshipped other gods. The prophet implies that even if God hands Israel a bill of divorce, she can refrain from taking a new husband (by no longer worshipping other gods) and can instead wait for her first husband, God, to take her back.
Like the wife in our parashah, Israel–as depicted by Jeremiah–can maintain some degree of autonomy by choosing to change her ways. With renewed commitment, she can reaffirm her sacred relationship with God.
HIGH HOLY DAYS
Given the uncertainty of the current pandemic, concern for the wellbeing of our highly at-risk members, and the excellent online resources available from other congregations, Temple Kol Hamidbar is NOT holding Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur Services this year. However, we will meet online for Shabbat Shuvah, September 30, 2022.
The Union for Reform Judaism and various congregations within the Reform Movement are providing online resources to anyone interested in participating in services. In some cases, registration is required. You may want to visit the following websites for their latest information on the High Holy Days and how to access them.
Kol Ami (formerly Temple Emanu-El and Congregation Or Chadash), Tucson, AZ https://katucson.shulcloud.com/
Congregation Or Ami, Calabasas, CA https://orami.org/hhd/
Temple Sinai, Oakland, CA https://www.oaklandsinai-hhd.org/
The Union for Reform Judaism https://reformjudaism.org/jewish-holidays/rosh-hashanah/how-find-high-holiday-community-wherever-you-are
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 of all kinds especially directed at individuals and specific 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 14th of Elul through the 20th of Elul, we lovingly remember:
Temple Kol Hamidbar Memorial List
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
We will meet as usual at the regular times for Torah Study and Shazoom this evening, Friday, September 9, 2022. During Elul, Mary Caron will sound the Shofar before the start of Shazoom.
Zoom regularly updates its security and performance features. Making sure you have the latest version of Zoom, please join us online this evening with wine/grape juice for Kiddush and Challah for Motzi.
Topic: Torah Study – Tëtzë (triennial part) Deut. 24:14-25:19
Time: Sep 9, 2022 06:00 PM Arizona
Shazoom – Erev Shabbat Service
Time: Sep 9, 2022 07:30 PM Arizona
To join 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.
Ketivah Vechatima Tovah – A Good Writing and Sealing!
Shabbat Shalom – Buen Shabbat!
PS – NOTICE: Next week, Friday, September 16, 2022, Dr. Sam and Mary Caron will be leading 6 PM Torah Study and 7:30 PM Shazoom.