Torah Portion: Ki Tetze (When You Go Out) Deut. 21:10-25:19
HafTorah: Isaiah 54:1-10
Tonight we begin first looking at the Torah section of Ki Tetze – in English this is “When You Go Out.” I asked you to think about some principles that run through this section of scripture and I want to get to that in a minute. First, I would like to look at Deut. 23:3-5. Here we see that the Torah cautions us against letting an Amonite or a Moabite come into the assembly of the L-rd. The phrase “come into the assembly of the L-rd” could mean conversion. They were inhospitable to you and they hired Ba’alm to curse you. This is a strange pairing of reasons. What connection could there have possibly been. One is not being hospitable while the other is attempted genocide. So what do you think the connection is here?
Think about this, we might be able to understand the inhospitable attitude or actions. Maybe there were in a recession, maybe they were impoverished. That might help explain it. However, the second reason shows us that was not the problem. Did Ba’alm come cheap? A houseful of gold and silver was his price. So money was not the issue. In fact the hiring of Ba’alm proved the enormity of their crime. I was thinking about this in modern terms. What is happening right now with the flood victims of Pakistan? Was has happened through the years with the Palestinians? Have any of the wealthy Arab countries come to their rescue? What is happening here in our country with one out of five children living without enough food and no health care? Like them, money is not the problem, rather indifference is one of the issues, caring more about ourselves than others.
When Yeshua met the rich man He quickly got to the root of the problem. He loved his money more than his fellowman. This Torah section speaks volumes about this attitude. People are to be treated fairly, with respect, equally and justly. Moses uses some of the most oppressed to make his point. Women: how were they normally treated? What do these verses have to say about how they should be treated? Read Deut. 21:14, Deut. 21:17, Deut 22:13-19 and even until the end of the chapter. In a battle or war women were usually the first to suffer much like Darfur and Sudan today. How were slaves to be treated? Deut. 23:15-16. Escaped slaves were to be sheltered and not returned to their masters.
What is another principle in this Torah portion? We cannot be indifferent. Deut. 22:1-4. If our brother’s property goes missing, we are to help restore it, even his clothes. We are not to remain indifferent. Deut. 23:22-23. We are not to be indifferent to G-d. We are to fulfill our vows. To make a vow and not follow through with fulfilling it is like withholding something that belongs to Him – our word.
Consideration: Deut. 22:6-7 tells us we should not shoo away a mother bird from her nest. Lev. 22:28. The point here is to show compassion and consideration to even the most fragile – represented by how we treat animals. Deut. 22:8: tells to walk around our roof checking to make it safe so no one falls and is injured. What point is this? The point is to be considerate and concerned for others.
Deut. 23:25-26 tells of allowing the hungry to share in our bounty. We must demonstrate the same compassion and care toward people as He showed us.
Holiness: There are many examples here but I want to look at only one. Deut. 22:9-10 tells of forbidden mixtures. What is the real spiritual point here? We are not to be a mixture of spiritual and unspiritual. We have been recreated so to speak and our old sinful self did not survive our salvation through Yeshua. Romans 6:1-11 makes it clear that the old person died once and for all. I think for Israel here Moses is trying to get across this idea. They are not like the Amonites and Moabites. They are a holy people. We are a holy people. These verses in Deut. should be a picture of our life.
In Isaiah 53:5 the word translated as stripes here is “chaburah.” There is another alternative way of translating the word. It could also mean fellowship or union. Paul alludes to this in Phillipians. 3:10 where fellowship of His suffering points to this word in Isaiah 53:5 of chavurah. This in many ways makes the verses in Isaiah clearer if we apply the alternative meaning of the word.