Our parashah this week, “Ki Teitzei”, offers us yet another opportunity to be inspired by Moses’ review of what God demands of our ancestors in order that they fulfil their national destiny to become a holy people, a Godly people. This parashah is distinguished as delineating the largest concentration of commandments of any portion; 74 out of the traditional 613 commandments are found in it. Moses reiterates for the people of Israel how this set of laws shall shape the ethical fibre of their lives: laws dealing primarily with domestic life and yet including prescriptions about the treatment of war prisoners, animals, debtors, criminals and workers.
The coincidence of Parashat Ki Teitzei, always coming as it does in proximity to the High Holy Days, challenges us to evaluate the world in a new way. During the month of Elul, we are given an opportunity to prepare ourselves for the New Year ahead. It is a chance for introspection, personal growth, and a heightened spirituality, during which we review our purpose, our relationships with one another, and our connection to God, to Israel, and to our world.
As we continue to struggle with the myriad of our daily decisions about how to act with kindness and decency, we are strengthened, indeed inspired by a continuum of three and half millennia of Jewish historical experience to fall back upon for wisdom and guidance. Let’s use this coming days to its best advantage and judge ourselves and others for who we authentically are, without pretence, excuse, or rationale. Our parashah teaches us, “You must have completely honest weights and completely honest measures if you are to endure long on the soil that God is giving you” (25:15). If we can measure ourselves as God measures us, as a loving parent and guardian, we will certainly emerge renewed, regenerated and ready to take on every situation we encounter in the New Year with confidence and a revitalised faith in who we are and who we can become. – Rabbi Adrian M Schell (Source: Rabbi Klein-Katz; Ki Teitzei)
The Torah Study Breakfast Shiur with Rabbi Schell continues on Shabbat, 29 August at 08.45.
Podcast of Rabbi Schell’s weekly Radio Sermons on Radio Today, follow http://betdavid.podomatic.com/.
Torah Reading for Shabbat Ki Teitzei
Deuteronomy 21:10-25:19 (Reading: 24:20-25:19 – Plaut p.1333; Hertz p.853)
Haftarah: Isaiah 54:1-10 (Plaut 1345; Hertz p.857)