Ki Tetzei(Deuteronomy 21:10-25:19)
Ki Tetzei 5767
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GOOD MORNING! While visiting people in the hospital I talked with a man who hadn't spoken with a rabbi since his bar mitzvah ... fifty years ago. He told me, "Rabbi, I'm a proud Jew. I never let anyone say anything against Jews or Judaism without standing up to them - with my fists if necessary." I asked him, "So, what is it about being Jewish that makes you so proud?" And he answered, "I'll tell you, Rabbi. I never let anyone say anything against Jews..."
___The man either could not articulate what made him a proud Jew, had never focused on it or didn't know. It makes sense that if one is proud to be a Jew he should know not only what the Jews have done to civilize the world, to bring knowledge of God and morality to mankind - and what is Judaism.
___There is something special about the Jews ... and while some may not be able to articulate it, the nations of the world have noticed it.
___Paul Johnson, a noted historian did. In his book, History of the Jews, he wrote:
___"One way of summing up 4,000 years of Jewish history is to ask ourselves what would have happened to the human race if Abraham had not been a man of great sagacity or if he had stayed in Ur and kept his higher notions to himself and no specific Jewish people had come into being. Certainly the world without the Jews would have been a radically different place.
___"Humanity might eventually have stumbled upon all the Jewish insights, but we cannot be sure. All the great conceptual discoveries of the intellect seem obvious and inescapable once they have been revealed, but it requires a special genius to formulate them for the first time. The Jews had this gift.
___"To them (the Jews) we owe the idea of equality before the law, both divine and human, of the sanctity of life and the dignity of the human person, of the individual conscience and so of personal redemption; of the collective conscience and so of social responsibility; of peace as an abstract ideal and love as the foundation of justice and many other items which constitute the basic moral furniture of the human mind. Without the Jews, it might have been a much emptier place."
___Leo Nikolaievitch Tolstoy wrote, "The Jew is the emblem of eternity. He whom neither slaughter nor torture of thousands of years could destroy, he whom neither fire nor sword nor inquisition was able to wipe off the face of the earth, he who was the first to produce the oracles of God, he who has been for so long the guardian of prophecy, and who transmitted it to the rest of the world - such a nation cannot be destroyed. The Jew is as everlasting as is eternity itself."
___Mark Twain was also impressed by the Jews and wondered how they impacted the world:
___"If the statistics are right, the Jews constitute but one percent of the human race. It suggests a nebulous dim puff of star dust lost in the blaze of the Milky Way. Properly the Jew ought hardly to be heard of; but he is heard of, has always been heard of. He is as prominent on the planet as any other people, and his commercial importance is extravagantly out of proportion to the smallness of his bulk.
___"His contributions to the world's list of great names in literature, science, art, music, finance, medicine, and abstruse learning are also way out of proportion to the weakness of his numbers. He has made a marvelous fight in this world, in all the ages; and has done it with his hands tied behind him. He could be vain of himself, and be excused for it. The Egyptian, the Babylonian, and the Persian rose, filled the planet with sound and splendor, then faded to dream-stuff and passed away; the Greek and the Roman followed, and made a vast noise, and they are gone; other peoples have sprung up and held their torch high for a time, but it burned out, and they sit in twilight now, or have vanished.
___"The Jew saw them all, beat them all, and is now what he always was, exhibiting no decadence, no infirmities of age, no weakening of his parts, no slowing of his energies, no dulling of his alert and aggressive mind. All things are mortal, but the Jew; all other forces pass, but he remains. What is the secret of his immortality?" - "Concerning The Jews," Harper's Magazine, 1897
___What is our secret? Perhaps it's the Jewish soul that is stiff-necked in its pursuit of truth. Whether a Jew pursues medicine, academia, music, commerce, political thought - he is driven to rise to the top to find the truth in it. But the ultimate truth is that there is a God Who has a covenant with the Jewish people and Who gave us the Torah. Many of the Jewish people are like a cut flower - beautiful for perhaps a time, but destined to wilt because the flow of nourishment is cut off from its roots.
___Our nourishment is the Torah which directs our spiritual and moral development, connects us to the Almighty and sharpens our thought process.
___What can you do if you wish to learn Torah? You can seek out a local synagogue which has classes, you can look for a local Aish HaTorah branch (http://www.aish.com/aishint/branch/), you can study via the internet at aish.com, http://www.ShemaYisroel.org, http://www.613.org ... or you can sign up for a tele-partner to study whatever you wish to learn via http://www.PartnersInTorah.org.
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Torah Portion of the Week
___Topics in this week's portion include: Women Captives, First-Born's Share, The Rebellious Son, Hanging and Burial, Returning Lost Articles, The Fallen Animal, Transvestitism, The Bird's Nest, Guard-Rails, Mixed Agriculture, Forbidden Combinations, Bound Tassels, Defamed Wife, Penalty for Adultery, Betrothed Maiden, Rape, Unmarried Girl, Mutilated Genitals, Mamzer, Ammonites & Moabites, Edomites & Egyptians, The Army Camp, Sheltering Slaves, Prostitution, Deducted Interest, Keeping Vows, Worker in a Vineyard, Field Worker, Divorce and Remarriage, New Bridegroom, Kidnapping, Leprosy, Security for Loans, Paying Wages on Time, Testimony of Close Relatives, Widows and Orphans, Forgotten Sheaves, Leftover Fruit, Flogging, The Childless Brother-in-Law, Weights and Measures, Remembering What Amalek Did to Us.
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based on Growth Through Torah by Rabbi Zelig Pliskin
___The Torah states:
|"You shall not plow with an ox and donkey together" (Deut. 22:10).|
___What can we learn from this verse to apply to our lives?
___The Daas Zekainim explains a reason for this commandment. Since an ox chews its cud and a donkey does not, the donkey will suffer the pain of envy when it sees that the ox has food in its mouth and it doesn't.
___Rabbi Chaim Shmuelevitz commented: This is a great lesson in how sensitive we need to be to avoid causing the pain of envy to others. If we must be careful with the feelings of an animal, all the more so of a person. Note: the ox is not really eating any more than the donkey; the donkey only mistakenly thinks it is true.
___Be very careful not to boast about your accomplishments or possessions if others might feel envious. Do not praise someone in the presence of a person who might feel envious of that person.
CANDLE LIGHTING - August 24
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Guatemala 6:09 - Hong Kong 6:29 - Honolulu 6:35
J'Burg 5:33 - London 7:44 - Los Angeles 7:12
Melbourne 5:34 - Mexico City 7:39 - Miami 7:32
New York 7:24 - Singapore 6:54 - Toronto 7:50
QUOTE OF THE WEEK:
When demands begin, love departs.
-- Rabbi Eliyahu Dessler
With Special Thanks to|