* TORAH * FOR CHILDREN
Why does the seemingly "lightweight" mitzvah of
shooing away a mother bird before taking its
eggs warrant such a grand reward as a long life?
Every Act Is Significant
The reward of long life for the seemingly simple
commandment of shooing away a mother bird
before taking her young teaches us that no
act is trivial.
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This parasha has the largest concentration of mitzvot (commandments) of any portion; 74 out of the traditional 613 commandments are found in it.
Of all these commandments, one stands out. "If [walking] along the road, you chance upon a bird's nest . . . and the mother is sitting over the fledglings or on the eggs, do not take the mother together with her young. Let the mother go and take only the young, in order that you may fare well and have a long life" (Deuteronomy 22:6).
The Talmud labels this mitzvah the "lightest" (the most insubstantial) of all the commandments, probably because it takes little effort to perform. Sending away the mother might well involve merely making a loud noise. Indeed, just walking close (or advancing menacingly) might induce the mother to fly away MORE>
Moses enumerates many laws that relate
to topics of family relationships, interpersonal
ethics, forbidden mixtures, and sexuality.
In continuing his last speech,
Moses delivers specific rules on
"If a beautiful woman is taken captive in war, you may take her as your wife. However, you must wait a month before you take her, so that she may weep for her mother and her father. If you do not take pleasure in her, you must let her go as she wishes, and neither sell her for money, nor take advantage of her.
"If a man has two wives, one beloved and one hated, and they each give him a son, then the man is not at liberty to give the rights of the first-born son to the beloved wife's son over the hated wife's son. Rather, he must recognize the first-born, even if he is the son of the hated one, by giving him a double portion of all the man's possessions, because it is his birthright.
ON THE PARSHA
FROM DIFFERENT SECTS
, from Torah Topics for Today
from Women of Reform Judaism
from Jewish Outreach Institute
from Social Action
from Orthodox Union
HARAV * KOOK *'S
* TORAH * TEACHING
* HAFTARAH * FOR
PARSHAT * KI TETZEH *
Israel, likened to a barren woman,
is promised countless children.
The haftarah selection is from Isaiah 54:1-10.
"In slight anger, for a moment,
I hid My face from you;But with
will take you back in love."(Isaiah 54: 8)
This heartfelt promise from God to Israel represents
the overall message of reconciliation conveyed in this
One of the seven haftarot of consolation read
haftarah conveys a powerful, comforting
message in a small number of verses.
In the first three verses of the haftarah, an exiled Israel is compared to a woman who has never experienced the pleasure of bearing a child. "Shout, O barren one!" (54:1), the haftarah opens, instructing this metaphorical woman to cry out in joyful celebration because she will soon be blessed with children. She is told to enlarge the size of her tent to make room for all the children she will have.
In the middle section of the haftarah, verses 4 through 8, Isaiah describes how God will bring Israel back to Him in mercy. Earlier, Israel was a barren woman. Now, Israel is described as a widow who lost her husband (God), but she is promised that she will "remember no more the shame of your widowhood" (54:4). In the next verses she is described as a third kind of woman--one whose husband left her, forlorn and forsaken. She is promised that her husband (again, God) will take her back in love.
The last two verses of the haftarah strengthen God's message by comparing it to the covenant with Noah in the Book of Genesis. Back then, God promised that He would never again flood the earth; now He pledges never again to be angry with or rebuke Israel. Even if the mountains move and the hills are shaking