We find in this week’s parasha another occurrence in a verse where the verb is doubled. We read in Deut. 22:4: “ הקם תקים עמו You are to raise it up, yes raise it up (together) with him.” The verse refers to the command to assist our brother in raising his fallen donkey (see 21:4). In this manner, the Torah imbues within us the importance of shared suffering and responsibility.
Why does the Torah repeat the word “to raise” (hakem takim)? The Midrash (Sifrei) explains that “[This teaches that] if he raised [the animal] and it fell, and then he raised it and it fell even 5 times, we are still obligated [to help].” In addition, the word “your brother” (achicha) appears 6 times in this short section, teaching us that sharing our brother’s burden is not a 1 time responsibility. As many times as one’s brother needs assistance, we must be there to lift him up.
I believe that we can extrapolate that one’s responsibility to so help, does not just apply to the individual, but also to brother nations. As the United States commemorates the 10th anniversary of 9/11, when we became victims to the scourge of terrorism that Israel has endured for decades, we as Americans, can take solace in the bond of brotherhood and mutual support that it shares with the Jewish state, and the commitment each nation has made to uphold and raise up the other in times of need.
After 9/11, while many in the Arab world celebrated America’s tragedy and suffering, Israel stood by its longtime friend and ally, offering not only physical support in critical areas of security, but also the moral support that can only be offered by a “brother” who has suffered the same pains. On that fateful day, America joined the brotherhood of nations that understands, first-hand, the true danger that radical Islam presents to the civilized world. Today, in the post-9/11 world, the United States and Israel are working more closely together than ever before to defeat the threats of radicalism and terrorism.
However, neither of us can afford to lose site of the primal source of these acts of terrorism, Islamic fundamentalism – a threat that won’t be eliminated by killing their leaders.
For example, consider what Israel is dealing with: In a December 16, 2009, interview with the Israeli newspaper, Haaretz, Mahmoud Abbas, the president of the Palestinian Authority, which controls the West Bank, proudly declared that there is no more incitement in the mosques. He stated: “They [Israel] said there is a problem with incitement in speeches in mosques during Friday prayers. Today there is no more incitement at any mosque.”
The following month, January 29, 2010, the following sermon from a mosque was broadcast live over the Palestinian Authority TV network: “The loathsome occupation in Palestine by these new Mongols and what they are perpetrating upon this holy land … are clear proof of … hostility, of incomparable racism, and of Nazism of the 20th century. The Jews are the enemies of Allah and of His Messenger! The Jews are the enemies of humanity and of Palestinians.
“Oh Muslims! The Jews are the Jews. Even if donkeys would cease to bray, dogs cease to bark, wolves cease to howl and snakes to bite, the Jews would not cease to harbor hatred towards Muslims. Oh Muslims! This land will be liberated; these holy places and these mosques will be liberated, only … when all Muslims will be willing to be Jihad fighters for the sake of Allah and for the sake of supporting Palestine, the Palestinian people and the holy places in Palestine. The Prophet says: ‘You shall fight the Jews and kill them. ‘Oh Muslim, Oh servant of Allah – there is a Jew behind me, come and kill him.’ Thus, this land will be liberated only by means of Jihad…”
My dear friends, as America looks back at the past 10 years and the tragedy that we, as a nation, suffered on September 11, we need to bare testimony to 2 things.
First, we must remind our leaders of the hatred that lurks in the hearts of the enemies of peace. Yes, there are Muslims throughout the world who are peaceful, law-abiding, God-fearing citizens, but in their midst, well-imbedded, are those who firmly believe “’Oh Muslim, Oh servant of Allah – there is a Jew behind me, come and kill him.”
Second, we also look to the future, taking solace in the fact that the United States and Israel will always support each other like brothers. No matter how many times one may fall, the other remains steadfast in its commitment to fulfilling the words of the Midrash. Our historic fabrics have changed, but we will remain as strong and resilient as brothers.
Kein Y`hee ratzon – ALUASA
8 Elul 5771
September 9, 2011
Mr. & Mrs. James Feinberg
5103 Pointe Gate Drive
Livingston, NJ 07039
Dear Judith & James:
I am greatly dismayed by your decision to resign as members from Temple Beth Ahm Yisrael. As a congregation we have endeavored to be there for your family at every feasible and reasonable opportunity. And, we have greatly valued your support of the congregation.
I will be so bold as to make the following suggestion: have your children join here; we have many multi-generation families. Or, if that is not what they desire, we can certainly arrange through your continued membership complimentary High Holy Day tickets for your family to attend our services; you could split time between the congregations.
I do urge you to reconsider your decision. I would hope that you would remain as dear members of Temple Beth Ahm Yisrael, and work with us to build an ever more sacred community.
I am fondly,
Mark Mallach, Rabbi
cc (e) David Glass, President
(e) Sue Blanco, Membership Chairman
Torah Thoughts for Today
Shabbat Ki Tetze 5771
Rabbi Mark Mallach
Temple Beth Ahm Yisrael, Springfield, NJ
MINYAN ASSURANCE NEEDED
Janie Links has her mother’s Yahrzeit, may Doris’s memory be for a blessing, beginning this evening, Sept. 6th, your presence at 7:45 PM is needed to assure a minyan
BACK TO SCHOOL
To all of our TBAY kids on their way back to school this week – have a great year!
IN REMEMBERANCE FOR 9/11 – Sunday, September 11, 2011
8:45 AM: Meditative reflection followed by a moment of silence for 9/11 in the Holocaust Memorial Garden
9 AM: Morning Minyan & 9/11 Commemoration in the Sanctuary together with the Religious School
READ HEBREW AMERICA CRASH HEBREW READING CLASS & Adult Bnai Mitzvah Class Starting!
Do you want to learn how to read Hebrew or brush up on your Alef Bet for an upcoming Simha? TBAY is offering a FREE 5 week Hebrew Reading Crash Course sponsored by Read Hebrew America, on Tuesdays at 7:30 pm, beginning September 13. This class is open to all! Refreshments will be provided.
Following the completion of our Hebrew Reading Crash Course, we will begin a new Adult B’nai Mitvzah class, also on Tuesdays. If you did not have a Bar or Bat Mitzvah and are interested in fulfilling this rite of passage, this class is perfect for you! Learn prayer in the Siddur, Haftorah and Torah portions, practice with speeches and receive guidance and support throughout the process. There is a fee for the two year B’nai Mitzvah class but confidential financial support is available. Please contact the synagogue office (973-376-0539 ext 13) for more information.
NEXT POTENTIAL CONGREGATIONAL ISRAEL TOUR
There have been inquiries about the next potential congregation Israel tour, such an event depends on several factors:
1. Currently exploring departure dates for the end of June, 2012
2. Having a nucleus of participants to make it viable – 20 adult minimum
3. Having a chairman to organize
If anyone is interested, please let me know and we can discuss the possibilities (NOTE: HAVE GOTTEN MANY RESPONSES, INTEREST IS CLEARLY GROWING…)
IMPORTANT NOTES FOLLOW BELOW
PARASHAT KI TETZE
September 10, 2011- 11 Elul 5771
Annual: Deut. 21:10 – 25:19 (Etz Hayim, p. 1112; Hertz p. 840)
Triennial: Deut. 21:10 – 23:7 (Etz Hayim, p. 1112; Hertz p. 840)
Haftarah: Isaiah 54:1 – 10 (Etz Hayim, p. 1138; Hertz p. 857)
(Prepared by Rabbi Joseph Prouser, Baldwin, New York)
SUMMARY OF PARASHA
Sefer Ha-Chinuch counts 74 individual mitzvot in Parashat Ki Tetzei, though that number is disputed more than such counts in any other Torah portion. Among the commandments and legal categories addressed are the following: the treatment of women taken captive in time of war; the immutability of the birthright; the draconian treatment of the “stubborn and rebellious son”; judicial hangings; the return of lost property; the obligation to assist the owner of an animal that has fallen under its burden; the prohibition against wearing clothing that is intended for the opposite sex and characteristic of it; the commandment to chase off a mother bird before taking its eggs or its young and the reward for fulfilling this imperative; the requirement to build a parapet on your roof and to remove analogous safety hazards from your property; the prohibitions against sowing a vineyard with diverse species, plowing with an ox and ass yoked together, and shaatnez (wearing garments in which wool and linen are combined); the commandment to wear fringes; laws about slander; the procedure followed when a newlywed husband alleges his wife was not a virgin as claimed and the consequences of such claims, whether they are unfounded or accurate; the legal ramifications of adultery and rape and a variety of marital restrictions; conduct and sanitation in a military camp (“keeping the camp holy” would later be expanded into a general mandate to establish worthy communities); the treatment to be accorded an escaped slave; sexual conduct deemed immoral and therefore prohibited; the prohibition against usury; mandates about vows; the legal parameters guiding someone working in a vineyard or field of crops; the fundamental laws of divorce; the special obligations and military exemption attending the first year of marriage; the securing of a debt; the legal treatment of kidnapping; the authority of priests in cases of leprosy; the commandment to remember God’s punishment of Miriam after to her ill-advised criticism of Moses; the fair treatment of laborers and the obligation to provide prompt payment of workers. Fundamental legal principles are addressed: individual responsibility and the principle that people are punished only for their own sins, not the sin of their parents or children; the obligation to deal justly with the stranger, the fatherless, and the widow. The obligation to provide justice for society’s most vulnerable finds specific expression in the requirement to leave forgotten sheaves and gleanings for the desperate poor. A maximum of forty lashes is established in cases of judicial flogging. Concern for animals is given expression through the prohibition against muzzling a plow animal at work, keeping it from eating. The law of levirate marriage and its circumvention by the ritual of chalitzah is introduced. Harsh consequences are provided in the case of a woman who violently intervenes in her husband’s physical altercation with another man (as the King James Version euphemistically puts it, she “taketh” the antagonist “by the secrets”). Scripture prescribes amputation of her hand – the only penal mutilation in the Torah, not surprisingly commuted to a punitive fine in rabbinic law. The requirement of honest weights and measures, and the more general principle of integrity in commerce are detailed. The parashah concludes with the requirement to “remember what Amalek did” – that bellicose nation’s merciless attack on the weakest parts of the Israelite camp. Israel is to “blot out the memory of Amalek from under heaven.” These final verses are read as the eponymic maftir aliyah on Shabbat Zachor, just before Purim.
A. Saturday, September 10:
1. 9:30 AM: Shaharit l`Shabbat & the Bar Mitzvah of Tommy David
2. 12:30 PM: Exploring Judaism Class: Believing (God &Torah) – this class will meet in the Board Room approximately 30 minutes after the conclusion of Shabbat morning services – ALL ARE WELCOME – it is geared to those potentially interested in exploring conversion or those who just want to explore and learn more
B. Sunday, September 11:
1. 8:45 AM: Meditative reflection follow by a moment of silence for 9/11 in the Holocaust Memorial Garden
2. 9 AM: 1st Day of Religious School
3. 9 AM: Morning Minyan & 9/11 Commemoration in the Sanctuary together with the Religious School
C. Thursday, Sept 15, 7:45 PM: Torah on Tap
D. Friday, September 23: 8 PM: Shabbat Service + Healing Service
E. Thursday, October 6, 8 PM: Coffee & Clergy Corner – Springfield Barnes & Noble: Rabbi Mallach & Reverend David Knecht, Holy Cross Lutheran Church – will lead a topical discussion on issues that we all face – OPEN TO ALL – this is the inaugural evening for this event
You can also visit my website at: http://ridinrebbe.com/
For updated information go to: http://www.tbaynj.org/