Torah Portion: Ki Tetze (When You Go Out) D’varim(Deut.) 21-25
Haftorah Reading: Isaiah 54:1-10
Tonight we are at the midpoint of the Hebrew month of Elul. As we have discussed, this month begins the 40 days of self examination and coming before G-d, and if need be, before our fellowman to seek repentance. It is a time to set spiritual goals for the coming year. Of course these are things we should be doing each day, however, this time should focus us like a laser on things that need to be dealt with in our lives.
It should be encouraging that the Hebrew word Elul, is an acronym for the verse in Song of Songs chapter 6 verse 3, “I am my beloved and my beloved is mine.” Spiritually this verse speaks of our relationship with G-d. His desire is to have a close relationship with us each day. So this sentiment should encourage us with how much He loves us and has the best for us.
Now on to our Torah portion tonight. As we have gone through this book, Moshe’s last speech before his death, we see his focus sharpen here to those things that form a relationship between us and our neighbors and our Father. Each of these commandments has a spiritual application for us. I would like to start with D’Varim 24:5. This verse speaks of a man taking a wife and being relieved of many of his outside responsibilities for one year. In Hebrew this is called Kidusim or the Betrothal. From this word we should be able to see a powerful picture here of how marriage is to be viewed and also how our place spiritually is viewed. This word has at its root kodesh. We all know this word to mean, “set apart.” or sanctified for one purpose. In a marriage it speaks of the fact that both man and woman, from the time of betrothal until marriage and after the marriage ceremony are set apart. They are separated out to each other. They are to be off limits to any other intimate relationship. If we look back to Genesis 2:23-24 we see where a man and wife are to become one, set apart.
This concept also applies to us as G-d’s people. When we enter into that covenantal relationship with Him we are set apart. We are to be devoted and focused only on Him. What pleases the Father should be the point of our every action. D’Varim 22:8 in our portion can give us a clue on how to live this out in our life. Left to ourselves we become distracted by other things. Think of the time you might have bought a new car or house. Everything was perfect and you might have vowed to keep it that way. However, after a year or so, the car has a few dings, maybe candy wrappers litter the floor, the paint on the house has chipped and weeds have taken over the yard. Like our house or car, our relationship with our spouse needs work. It just does not take care of itself. Spiritually our relationship with our Father takes work too. If not worked at it can become overgrown with “weeds” and suffer from neglect. Back to D’Varim 22:8 we are instructed to build a wall around our roof of our house so no one will fall off and get hurt or die. Spiritually, I think this verse speaks to us about building a wall around our lives, not to keep people out but to protect us from falling into something that would harm us and our walk with G-d. G-d’s Word gives us the material to do this. We have His plan for a life well lived between husband and wife and between us and G-d. Our lives as G-d’s people should have boundaries on what we can or cannot be involved in. Where do you see weak areas of your spiritual wall? What places need to be strengthened for the safe keeping of your marriage or your own personal walk with G-d?
Finally, I want to return to repentance, the theme of this time of year. To do that I want us to go to the first verse of this portion, D’Varim 21:10, “When you go out to war…” Spiritually I think we should look at that verse for ourselves as we go out to face the world each day. Life happens everyday, we oversleep, car won’t start, we get stuck in traffic. Things interfere with our plans for the day. Sometimes we can be so distracted by these bumps in the road that we lose sight of how we are to deal with each day as we “go out to war.” Usually this happens because we believe we are in control and we know how our life is supposed to proceed. We think we can overcome whatever we bump into. We often forget that G-d has a plan for our day. His will rules our day as His children.
Our goal each day is not to become so fixed on what we think our day should be but to be able to incorporate G-d’s wisdom and will into our lives. When things seem to not be going our way it is G-d’s friendly reminder that we have left His will for us out of our planning. Our days are His not ours. It is about doing His will even if it involves traffic jams or other annoyances. It is from His Hand and He has a purpose in it. Maybe that purpose is to pull us back to the point of not being so caught up in our plans that we forget about His.
Part of His plan is that we take a deep breath and spend time alone with Him, repent for those things that need to be cleaned up and allow His peace to cover us in everything we face