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Parsha [Passage of Scripture] Nugget [Precious Idea] Ki Seitzei – Deuteronomy 21:10-25:19
Bringing up your spouse’s or a friend’s past mistake serves no productive purpose. You’ll always have new subjects to discuss or argue about. And, forgiveness means once you’ve dealt with an issue you drop it. So why does Moses bring up Miriam’s past mistake? She admitted her error and received punishment. That should have been the end of it. Parshas Ki Seitzei explains you’ll have to do more to preserve your goodness:
“Remember what G-d did to Miriam, on the way when you were going out from Egypt.” (Deuteronomy/Devarim 24:9)
This Sabbath’s parsha contains the most mitzvahs (ways to connect with the Almighty). It has 74 in all. Among them, you learn about the right of primogeniture and how to handle a wayward and rebellious son. Next, you read that men and women should not wear each other’s clothing (Ooops for Uncle Miltie). You must send away a mother bird before gathering her eggs. You find out the penalties for libeling a woman, adultery, and rape. Next, you review a range of rules from marriage and divorce to honest weights and measures. Finally, the Torah teaches you the strange commandment to remember to wipe out the memory of Amalek.
The Essence of Women
The Creator embedded several traits in female nature. They include curiosity, an inclination to listen, being communicative, and the capacity to energetically take needed action. All these traits undergird the ability to create and build strong relationships.
Connections among people and with G-d form the foundation of society. So the women possessed the crucial traits the Israelites needed to adjust from a nomadic to a settled existence in the land of Israel. If the workers of an Abraham and a Lot argued, they couldn’t go their separate ways anymore. They’d have to work matters out.
The women’s impact on the Children of Israel’s destiny would grow.
When Good Traits Turn Bad
Women in the Torah made few mistakes. Sarah eavesdropped on the angel speaking to Abraham. Leah went out to the field to let Jacob know she had hired him for that night. Rachel stole her father’s idols. Miriam spoke about Moses’s inattention to his wife’s conjugal rights. During hundreds of years of history, there weren’t many others. None had permanent consequences on the Israelites. To all appearances, the women had only goodness.
But even “good” traits can cause bad results. Eavesdropping could lead to spying. Treating your husband like a paid escort could lead to brazen conduct with other men. Justifiable theft could turn into outright thievery. Public defense of a sister-in-law’s private rights could lead to tale-bearing.
You may have never thought about good traits causing bad results and vice versa. Examples abound. Grandparents overindulge their grandkids out of love. Chamberlain appeased Hitler to maintain peace. Reasonably benign or calamitous, you can see both are good intentions run amiss.
During times of transition, emotions run high. You may lose your perspective. At such times you’ll be tempted to misuse your goodness. Remember Moses’s warning to the women. Strive to keep a balance to preserve your goodness.
When are you most likely to overindulge good traits or emotions? Please comment below.
Every year beginning on Simchas Torah, the cycle of reading the Torah, the first five books of the Bible, ends and begins again. Each Sabbath a portion known as a sedra or parsha is read. It is named after the first significant word or two with which this weekly reading begins.
What verse in the Old Testament would you like to know more about? Ask a question and I will answer it in a future Parsha Nugget!
© , Kevin S. Bemel, All Rights Reserved
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