Prepared by Rabbi Stephen Texon
This week's Torah Portion of "Ki Tetze" is completely packed with Mitzvot, more than in any other single Parasha, 74 to be exact. The range of the commandments and their detail is quite remarkable too, from the most intimate to the most general. Even though some of the 74 themes are discussed and alluded to in previous portions, the reiteration is very powerful here. It's as if Moses prior to his impending death, wanted to be very explicit in this week's "Ki Tetze" and next week's "Ki Tavo" about what the Almighty expects of His people in almost every area of human activity.
The prohibition against causing pain to any living creature has always struck me as fundamental to all behavior on earth. Emotional, physical and psychological pain must be guarded against as much as possible. Cruelty to animals is absolutely abhorrent, and this portion speaks of the delicate act of kindness in sending away the mother bird who is sitting on her fledglings or eggs in order not to cause her pain.
The portion ends with the commandment to REMEMBER, "ZACHOR", to remember and also to eradicate our fiercest enemies.
Alice Greenwald, Directress of the 9/11 Memorial Museum has said the following: "Remembrance is fundamental to Jewish liturgy and lifestyle, to the very act of being"! We read this excerpt from "Ki Teze" on the Shabbat before Purim as well, because Haman, and symbolically all the Hamans of the world descended from Amelek.
"In every generation they rise up to destroy us, but the Holy One, blessed be He, delivers us from their hand". Amen!!
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