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Ki Tetzei 5770

Ki Tetzei (Deuteronomy 21:10-25:19 )

by Kalman Packouz

GOOD MORNING! There's an old Jewish saying that "If one person calls you a donkey, ignore him. If two people call you a donkey ... buy a saddle!" With all the negative comments about Israel and Jews one sees and hears in the media, one might start to wonder if he should buy a saddle. Abba Eban, former Foreign Minister of Israel, once commented regarding the ludicrousness of world opinion: "If Algeria introduced a resolution declaring that the earth was flat and that Israel had flattened it, it would pass by a vote of 164 to 13 with 26 abstentions."

It is important to know that historically there are many people who have a far more positive perception, understanding and appreciation of the Jewish people. They are individuals who are more intelligent, perceptive and honest than the current "nattering nabobs of negativity". So that you don't get saddled with the wrong impression, here are a few choice quotes:

"Some people like the Jews, and some do not. But no thoughtful man can deny the fact that they are, beyond any question, the most formidable and the most remarkable race which has appeared in the world."
--  Winston Churchill

* * *

"The Jew is that sacred being who has brought down from heaven the everlasting fire, and has illuminated with it the entire world. He is the religious source, spring, and fountain out of which all the rest of the peoples have drawn their beliefs and their religions."
--  Leo Tolstoy

* * *

"(The Jews') 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."
--  Mark Twain

* * *

"They (the Jewish people) are the most glorious Nation that ever inhabited this Earth. The Romans and their Empire were but a bauble in comparison of the Jews. They have given religion to three-quarters of the Globe and have influenced the affairs of Mankind more, and more happily than any other Nation, ancient or modern."
--  John Adams, 2nd President of the USA

* * *

"The Jewish vision became the prototype for many similar grand designs for humanity, both divine and man made. The Jews, therefore, stand at the center of the perennial attempt to give human life the dignity of a purpose."
--  Paul Johnson, A History of the Jews

* * *

"As long as the world lasts, all who want to make progress in righteousness will come to Israel for inspiration as to the people who had the sense for righteousness most glowing and strongest."
--  Matthew Arnold, Literature and Dogma

* * *

"If there is any honor in all the world that I should like, it would be to be an honorary Jewish citizen."
--  A.L Rowse, historian and poet

* * *

"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."
--  Leo Tolstoy

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Torah Portion of the Week
Ki Tetzei

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.

* * *

Dvar Torah
based on Growth Through Torah by Rabbi Zelig Pliskin

The Torah states:

"When you go out to war against your enemies, and the Almighty, your God, will give him into your hand..."

The Arizal, a great Kabbalist, noted that the verse starts off in the singular person ("When you go out to war" is singular in Hebrew). "Your enemies" is plural. Then the Torah reverts to the singular regarding the enemy ("give him" - instead of writing "give them"). Since this is not a case of poor editorship, what is the lesson that the Torah is coming to teach us?

The Arizal elucidates: The Torah is telling us that if we have unity and are as one when we go out against our enemies, then even though our enemies are very numerous, you will be victorious as easily as if they were just one.

The importance of unity for accomplishment applies not only during times of war against an enemy. It is just as necessary during times of peace. When a group of people will work on any project with a spirit of togetherness, they will accomplish much more than if they would each be doing things as separate individuals.


PIRKEI AVOT (Ethics of our Fathers)

"Ben Zoma said: Who is honored? He who honors his fellow men - as it is written (I Samuel 2:30) "For those who honor Me I will honor, and those who despise Me shall be treated
with contempt." (4:1)

"Rabbi Shimon used to say: There are three crowns - the crown of the Torah, the crown of the priesthood, and the crown of kingship - but the crown of a good name surpasses
them all." (4:17)



(or go to

Jerusalem 6:43
Guatemala 6:04 - Hong Kong 6:33 - Honolulu 6:39
J'Burg 5:31 - London 7:55 - Los Angeles 7:17
Melbourne 5:30 - Mexico City 7:43 - Miami 7:34
New York 7:57 - Singapore 6:55 - Toronto 7:57


The wise man, even when he holds his tongue,
says more than the fool when he speaks.
--  Yiddish Proverb


With Deep Appreciation to

Phillip Roth


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