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Ki Tetzei 5763

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

by Kalman Packouz

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GOOD MORNING!  My friend, Sunny Goldstein, told me the story of a young man he met who was wearing the head covering and clothing of an Eastern religion. He asked for his name and the young man responded with a 15 letter Sanskrit name.

Sunny asked if he were married and the young man replied, "No, but they will pick a wife for me soon." Then Sunny asked where he was from and what his parents did and his previous name. The young man was from a small town in Pennsylvania, his parents were tailors and his previous name was obviously Jewish.

Sunny inquired further, "Why did go away from your own heritage and how did you become involved in your present lifestyle?" The young man replied that, "My father forced me to go synagogue, to wear a Yarmulka; my parents were always working and never home; I affiliated with the group while studying at University."

And then Sunny gave his insight, "If your father told you to marry somebody Jewish you would have objected that he is controlling your life, yet you let them pick a wife for you. You objected to your father telling you to wear a Yarmulka, yet you let your new religion choose your head covering and clothing. You're angry at your parents for not being home for you, yet you had no objection that they worked 14 hours a day so that you could go to university - so tell me this! Why didn't you go to your parent's tailor shop after school to help out so that they wouldn't have to work 14 hours a day and could come home earlier?"

At some point in life we must stop blaming our parents, our teachers, our society and take responsibility for our own lives. It is sad to see a 15 year old blaming his parents, schools and society for his own lack of success; it is pathetic to listen to a 35 year old harping on the same old story.

Rather, we should set goals, make plans, and work out strategies to do the best we can with our lives. And a good part of the success we will have comes for our embracing the good we have gotten from parents, schools and society and expressing our gratitude. Then we will have a positive outlook which gives the strength and fortitude to succeed. To place an exclamation point on this important idea, I would like to share with you a story from Dr. Howie Liebowitz, an alumnus of our Aish HaTorah College of Jewish Studies in Jerusalem.

"I was working in the emergency room when a 'Code' was called in the cafeteria. A woman was visiting her husband at the hospital when she was struck with a massive heart attack. She was 'flatlined' - no heartbeat. We were working frantically on her. Every moment was an eternity.

"After 15 minutes there was still no heartbeat. My fellow doctors began to move away, having given up hope. I continued to try. A life is precious. Finally, at about a half-hour I got a blip - her heart started to work! We rushed her into the emergency room and managed to stabilize her.

"Six hours later, at the end of my shift, I decided to check on her. She was sitting up in bed talking with her husband. As I walked into the room, her husband says, 'Dear, this is Dr. Leibowitz. He is the one who saved your life!'

"The woman looked at me ... and said, 'I don't know what to say. "Thank you" is what you say to someone who holds the door for you. Doctor, I want you to know that every time I hold my grandchild, every time I go for a walk with my husband, every time I see a sunset, I am thanking you.' "

Dr. Leibowitz told the story to express his gratitude to Rabbi Noah Weinberg and Aish HaTorah. But, what lesson should we learn from the story?

When was the last time you called your mother and father to thank them for bringing you in to this world and for loving you? When was the last time you called that special teacher? When was the last time you thanked your friends for being there for you? And if your parents, special teacher or friend aren't still around to express your thanks, remember - every time you hold a child, walk with someone or see a sunset - you should be living your life thanking those who made it possible.

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:

"If you happen to come across a bird's nest on the road or on any tree or on the ground, fledglings or eggs, and the mother bird is sitting on the fledglings or on the eggs, do not take the mother with the children." (Deuteronomy 22:6)

Why does the Torah specify a mother bird sitting on the nest?

Rabbi Yosef Chaim Zonnenfeld of Jerusalem asked: Can a person catch a bird once it is flying? Of course not! However, there are mother birds who are so concerned about the welfare of their children that they stay with them and do not leave them alone when a hunter comes along.

Because of her devotion, the mother bird falls right into the hands of the hunter. It turns out that the hunter would want to take advantage of the mother's compassion for her children. Therefore, the Torah orders a person to send away the mother. One has no right to utilize her positive trait of mercy in order to capture her.

All the more so, we should not try to take advantage of another person just because he is softhearted. There are people who are very compassionate and whenever they hear that someone has a difficulty, they do whatever they can to help. In monetary matters they do not like to argue or quarrel and easily give in to the demands and requests of others. Do not utilize their good-naturedness to take advantage of them in either financial matters or in taking up their time and energy by asking them to do things that you would not ask others to do.


"Run to perform an easy Mitzvah (commandment)
and flee from doing a transgression;
For the consequence of a Mitzvah is another Mitzvah
and the consequence of a transgression is another transgression."
    --  Ben Azzai

CANDLE LIGHTING - September 6:
(or go to

Jerusalem  6:23
Guatemala 5:52  Hong Kong 6:18  Honolulu 6:24
J'Burg 5:39  London 7:19  Los Angeles 6:55
Melbourne 5:40  Miami 7:17  Moscow 6:57

New York 7:04  Singapore  6:50


Wars do not determine who is right...
but who is left.

In Loving Memory of
Arthur Weiss
Asher ben Leib

With deep appreciation,
Geoff Frisch


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