Beth Elohim Messianic Synagogue
Parashah #49: Ki Tetze (When you go out) D’varim 21:10-25:19
Haftarah: Yesha’yahu 52:13-54:1-10
B’rit Chadashah: 1 Corinthians 9:4-18
This week’s parashah contains more than six times the number of mitzvot than any of the others. Private matters in domestic and civil life are addressed rather than the previous parashah addressing public matters that affected the nation. The parashah context.
Concerning sins that kill, capital crimes require execution and burial before sunset. A hanging individual is a curse to G-d. According to the Talmud, a criminal who had been executed was hung by the hands just before sunset, then taken down and buried (Yad.Sanh.15:7).
Next, domestic laws are delineated mainly focusing on personal property. These laws include dealing with animals that have been lost or stolen being treated with kindness and decency. There is no mention of asking the owner for reimbursement for any feed used for such animals. The prohibition against wearing clothing of the opposite sex is addressed. Exactly what does this mean? From the perspective of the Chumash, this includes practices of the opposite sex. This is to “avoid excessive mingling that can lead to promiscuity, and to preserve the normal and constructive differences between males and females” The Sages apply this prohibition to men who are obsessed with personal grooming and women who wear battle dress. Does this mean that women were not to go to war?
Indeed, women are not ideally meant to be in the military. Specific roles for the sexes were and are clearly laid out in G-d’s Torah. Notice in the first sentence of the parashah that when men went out to war and found an attractive woman, there were specific rules for taking her in to be a wife. There is no mention a reciprocal provision for women. Men were and are supposed to be the spiritual leaders and soldiers in time of battle. Conceptually, this is the “justice” side of the inextricable relationship between male and female; G-d’s justice and mercy. The woman represents the nurturing “grace” side of the relationship.
Because many men have relegated their leadership role and willingness to serve in battle, women have moved in to meet the need. When we read the story of Devorah in Judges, we see that her husband was lacking in leadership. Devorah was judging Israel under G-d’s purview. She was a Torah scholar and encouraged her fellow Israelites to attend synagogue and Tabernacle. Her husband is given three names; Barak, Michael, and Lappidoth. Devorah went to the battlefield where she chanted a victory song. In contrast, Barak seems to radiate a lack of confidence when he asked Devorah to join him on the battlefield. There are several opinions on whether Barak relegated his leadership role to Devorah or simply wanted her by his side. Whatever the truth of the matter, G-d ordained that Devorah take charge. This is clear in Judges 4:14; “ D’vorah said to Barak: ‘Get going! This is the day when Adonai will hand Sisra over to you! Adonai has gone out ahead of you!” The outcome is found in Judges 4:15-23. G-d will use His people, whether men or women to accomplish his will if the one who is initially given a task fails to accept the mission. For another example, please read the Book of Ester 4:14.
A lesson on compassion follows in Deut. 22:6using the example of seeing a bird’s nest in a tree or on the ground with chicks or eggs. To kill a mother in front of her young whether in the context of humanss in a war situation, or in the animal world is cruel. The Torah mandates that the mother be separated; in the case of a bird, chasing the mother away before taking the chicks or eggs. Kindness, compassion, mercy, and decency pervade the true believer’s life in all situations.
The prohibition of mixing two types of cloth, sowing two kinds of seed and even placing two types of animals is described. The lesson is that mixing things such as a marriage in which two people have different gods is forbidden (Deut. 7:3; 1 Kings 11:12) or in the specific cases mentioned in Deut. 22:9; Lev.19:19), integrity is lost. The result of mixing things that are “unequal” results in hybrids that are not as G-d designed them. The mixed entity is always less than G-d intended whether in the context of marriage or anything else. In the case of marriage, this is not an issue of race or ethnicity. It is an issue of compromising and not following the one true G-d in all things. Two people with two different gods cannot be a cohesive, equally yoked pair. For more on this issue, review what happened to Solomon and subsequently the nation Israel because of Solomon’s disobedience/sacrificing to the gods of his wives. (1 Kings 11:7). The G-d of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob is a jealous G-d and demands allegiance to Him only (Ex. 20:5; 34:14).
In the area of forgiveness, there are different level, just as there are different levels of reward. As a result of their hostility to Israel as they were en route to the Land, the heads of the Ammonites, and Moabites are banned from citizenship and marriage for 10 generations. But the Edomites and Egyptians are banned only to the third generation. This means their grandchildren were able to enter the assembly (Deut. 23:8). The disparity lies in the fact that the Egyptians were kind to the Israelites at first, but later became hostile when they began to fear their numbers (Gen. 47). Edomites are descendants of Esav who was directly related to Israel. The Torah refers to Israel as Edom’s brother (Num. 20:14; Deut. 2:4; Mal.1:2) Note that in Malachi 1:2 that the name Esav is used instead of Edom which are the progeny of Esav and that G-d states that he loved Ya’akov but hated Esav. Edom has been against G-d from the beginning and will ultimately be destroyed for her animosity and hatred of G-d’s people according to G-d’s promises found throughout G-d’s Torah.
Other subjects covered in the end of this parashah include standards for military camps, protection for escaped slaves, rules for lending, the Levirate marriage, and keeping your word. Justice is addressed again using weights and measures. Justice applies to business outside and inside the home (Deut. 25:13-15). It is not difficult to see that of G-d’s commands and rulings were followed, our world would be a much safer and pleasant place to live. However, for all the evil and injustice we see and experience today, the true believer knows there is relief in sight where justice and peace will be restored with Messiah’s second coming. May it be in our lifetimes. As YHVH/Yahshua (Yahshua is YHVH; see Gen. 1:1) told the Israelites then as He does now, “Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for your L-rd your G-d goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you” (Deut. 31:6; Deut. 31:8; Heb. 13:5; Isaiah 41:10-13; Matt. 28:20; Heb. 13:6; Psalms 55:22; 1 Chron. 28:20.
Haftarah: Yesha’yahu (Isaiah 52:13-54:10)
This week’s haftarah is the fifth of a series of seven haftarot of consolation. Forsaken Jerusalem who is compared to a barren woman is encouraged by G-d to rejoice, for the time will come when she will return and proliferate. G-d assures the Israelites that he has not forsaken them and that although he turned his face against them for a time, he will regather them from their exile with mercy. Unfortunately, our Orthodox brethren do not address the all-important text in this haftarah that specifically identifies Yahshua as our Redeemer; G-d’s Servant which is a role YHVH manifested for mans benefit to understand the written Torah through the spiritual aspects. We learn that Yahshua was not blond-haired and blue-eyed with long hair. Rather, he was regarded as being punished, stricken and afflicted by G-d. He was not well-formed or especially handsome; we saw him, but his appearance did not attract us. People despised and avoided him, a man of pains, well acquainted with illness. Like someone from whom people turn their faces, he was despised; we did not value him” (Isaiah 53:2-4).
Israel is identified as the bride of Yahshua in Isaiah 54:5-6. Israel is NOT the Church! Israel is all true believers defined by YHVH/Yahshua in the Tanakh, Romans 2-3; John:14, and in the seven-fold witness in Revelation. Let’s look at Isaiah 5-6: “You will forget the shame of your youth, no longer remember the dishonor of being widowed. For your husband is your Maker, Adonai-Tzva’ot is His name. The Holy One of Israel is your Redeemer. He will be called the G-d of all the earth. For Adonai has called you back like a wife abandoned and grief-stricken; ‘A wife married in her youth cannot be rejected,’ says your G-d. ‘Briefly I abandoned you, but with great compassion I am taking you back.”
Our Orthodox Jewish brethren are blinded for a time, but those blinders will be removed when Yahshua sees fit; when they too will acknowledge Yahshua as Messiah ben Yosef AND Messiah ben David. In the book of Romans, Sha’ul is speaking about the fact that only a remnant of the Israelites who had been enlightened and accepted the Messiahship of Yahshua, that he is G-d, and his resurrection. Israel had not and has yet to attain the goal for which she is striving. There have been blinders placed on Israel until the fullness of the Gentiles is accomplished. The Tanakh reads “G-d has given them a spirit of dullness- eyes that do not see and ears that do not hear, right down to the present day.” So many have said that Israel has stumbled and permanently fallen away, and that Christianity (the Church) is the “new Israel.” Sha’ul states “Heaven forbid! Quite the contrary, it is by means of their stumbling that the delive3rance has come to the Gentiles, in order to provoke them to jealousy. Moreover, if their stumbling is bringing riches to the world- that is, if Israel’s being placed temporarily in a condition less favored than that of the Gentiles is bringing riches to the latter- how much greater riches will Israel in its fullness bring them!” Romans 11:25 repeats this status of having blinders placed on them for a time.
B’rit Chadashah: 1 Corinthians 9:4-19
In this narrative, Sha’ul addressed the Messianic assembly in Corinth. He had received reports that the people were divisive and spiritually immature, asking about subjects that they should have understood from the Old testament teachings, an example provided by comparing our parashah to this narrative. In chapter 9 Sha’ul focused on provision for G-d’s workers, or anyone for that matter. He uses information from our parashah for validation that even an ox should not be muzzled (kept from eating) while treading out the grain. Nevertheless, he told the assembly that he would go on to proclaim the Good News whether or not the people provide him with food and drink because he was compelled by the Spirit to carry out his task. His motivation, like ours should be, is to run the race to win the prize no matter the circumstances in which we must live and work for Yahshua. Sha’ul mentions this in verses 23-27. We should examine our motives at all times with all we do. If we don’t, we may rest assured that Yahshua will bring it to our attention when we stand before Him. May we examine ourselves continuously and closely, even more so as we prepare to observe Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur.
Rabbi Tamah Davis-Hart