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Ki Tetze
I Love Lucy and Parshat Ki Tetze- What is the Connection? Print E-mail
Friday, 05 September 2014

I Love Lucy and Parshat Ki Tetze- What is the Connection?

 

In Memory of Reva Margolin (a fan of I Love Lucy) on her 20th Yahrzeit

 

Every I Love Lucy fan has seen the episode where Lucy and Ethel are supposed to be working in a chocolate factory but they end up spending most of their time eating the chocolate instead of working.

 

(If you haven’t seen the episode click on the following link) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HnbNcQlzV-4

 

Are workers permitted to eat on the job?

 

In Parshat Ki Tetze, Devarim 23:25 we read: “When you enter your neighbor’s vineyard, you may eat grapes as you desire, to your satisfaction; but you shall not put any in your vessel.”

 

According to the Rambam, this verse is referring to a hired laborer, as only a hired laborer would be permitted to go into his neighbor’s field.

 

According to the Mishna in Bava Metzia 7:2, Biblically, workers are permitted to eat from the produce that they are working with.

 

Torah Temima teaches that a person can eat the produce while he is on the job since eating will give him the strength to continue working all day.

 

Nechama Leibowitz points out that the Torah is protecting the laborer who should not have to endure the sight of appetizing fruit forbidden to him while at work.

 

If the sight of the fruit distracts him, the laborer will not be as focused as he should be on the job.

 

However, there are limits. Rashi says that you can eat as much as you want, but not gluttonously. Alshich says that if you overdo it and eat too much your body will get sick. Rather than satisfying your body, you should focus on satisfying your soul.

 

According to the Mishna in Bava Metzia 7:5, Man should not be ravenous. Even though he is technically allowed to eat as much as he wants, if he overdoes it, he will not make a good impression on his employer.

 

Permission to eat is only granted to the workers while they are working. They are not permitted to take any of the produce home for themselves or for family members without paying.

 

These laws only apply to one who is working in a field with produce that is attached to the ground. The Mishna in Bava Metzia 7:1 states that feeding the workers in other circumstances would depend on the local custom.

 

In I Love Lucy the boss clearly did not want Lucy and Ethel eating on the job. Therefore, Lucy and Ethel are obligated to listen to her and not eat the chocolate. As well, they ate way too much which could have caused them to get sick and they hid more chocolate in their hats and clothing which is never permitted.

 
Compassion for Animals Print E-mail
Saturday, 17 August 2013

In Parshat Ki Tetze we learn about compassion for animals from the following psukim (Devarim 22:6, 7): “If you should chance upon a bird’s nest before you on the road in any tree, or on the ground with fledglings or eggs and the mother is sitting on the fledglings or on the eggs; do not take the mother with her offspring. You must surely send away the mother and the offspring take for yourself, so that you will benefit and will live long.”

 

According to the Sefer HaChunch, we can learn from here that God’s desire is for the endurance of all of his species.

 

If we as people can ensure that the animals are well taken care of and that none of them will become extinct then we will be rewarded with a long life in this world as well as eternal souls in the world to come.

 

This reward is measure for measure. If we watch over God’s creatures, then God will watch over us.

 

I saw a beautiful story about a panda researcher in China who wore a panda costume to give mother like feeling to a baby panda who lost her mother.

 

I am not saying that we have to go that far out of the way, but it is important that we respect all of the creatures that God created.

 

The Gemara in Avoda Zara 3b talks about what God does during the during the day: For the first three hours of the day, God sits and involves Himself with Torah study, during the second three hours, He sits and judges the entire world, once he sees that the world is deserving of annihilation He stands up from the Throne of Judgment and sits instead upon the Throne of Mercy, during the third three hour period, He sits and provides nourishment for the entire world- from the horns of the antelopes to the eggs of the lice, during the forth three hour period, He laughs with the Leviathan sea creature.

 

We see from here that in addition to studying Torah and judging the world God concerns himself with the well being of the animals and so should we.

 

 
Kosher Clothing? Print E-mail
Friday, 31 August 2012

In Parshat Ki Tetze (Devarim 22:11) we read: “Do not don Shatnez (a mixture of threads), wool and linen together.”

 

According to Rashi, the word Shatnez is a mixture. We learn in Nidah 61b that the word Sha-t-nez can be divided into three words, Shua (combed or smoothed), Tavui (spun) and Nuz (woven).

 

Shatnez is a chok. The Torah doesn’t give us a reason for why Shatnez is prohibited. However, one can try to guess.

 

The Sefer HaChinuch states that according to the Rambam the priests of idolatry wore combinations of wool and linen and we don’t want to imitate their ways.

 

According to Rabbi Shraga Simmons, “mixing wool and linen upsets the environmental and metaphysical fabric of the universe. God created different species that work together in the symphony of creation. Our job is to respect and appreciate this diversity and help maintain this special orderliness.”

 

Rabbi Simmons brings a Midrash that states that since Kayin brought a korban (sacrifice) of flax (linen) and Hevel brought a korban of sheep (wool) and Kayin ended up killing Hevel it is better not to mix the two substances.

 

I am sure that it is no coincidence that in Vayikra, Parshat Kedoshim 19:17-19 we read: “You shall not hate your brother in your heart; You shall certainly rebuke your friend; but you shall not bear a sin on his account. You shall not take revenge or bear a grudge against the children of your people. You shall love your fellow as yourself, I am God. Keep my statutes; Do not cross breed your animals with different species. Do not sow your field with a mixture of different seeds. A garment that contains shatnez you shall not wear.”

 

Not hating your brother, loving your neighbor and not wearing shatnez all seem to be connected.

 

When we go shopping it is important that we make sure that the clothing that we buy is kosher and does not contain a mixture of wool and linen. There are experts who are available to check the clothing to be sure.

 

We see that there is holiness both in what we put in our bodies as well as what we put on our bodies and that even our clothing needs to be kosher!

 

 

 
Watch Your Language! Print E-mail
Friday, 09 September 2011

In Othello 3:3 William Shakespeare writes:

Who steals my purse, steals trash;

‘tis something, nothing;

‘Twas mine, ‘tis his and has been slave to

Thousands;

But he that filches from me my good name

Robs me of that which not enriches him,

And makes me poor indeed.

 

In Parsha Ki Tetze, Devarim 22:13-19 we see an incident of “motzi shem ra”, “slander” where a husband comes to hate his newlywed wife and tries to void her ketubah by accusing her of adultery.

 

If it is proven that the wife did not commit adultery, the husband must be fined one hundred silver shekels and give them to her father because he defamed a maiden of Israel and she will remain his wife, he may not divorce her all of his life.

 

Rashi points out that one transgression engenders another. The husband transgressed the commandment “Do not hate” and ultimately he reached the point of malicious slander.

 

Watching what we say is extremely difficult. On Yom Kippur, (a month from today) each time we say the Vidui-Al Chet (confession) we will mention eleven sins connected with speech:

“For the sin that we have sinned before You…

-with the utterance of the lips (vitui sefatayim)

-through harsh speech (bedibur peh)

-with insincere confession (bevidui peh)

-through foolish speech (betipshut peh)

-through impure lips ((betumat sefatayim)

-through denial and false promises (bichashash uvichazav)

-through evil talk (lashon hara)

-through scorning (bilatzon)

-with idle chatter of our lips (siach siftoteinu)

-by gossip mongering (berichilut)

-through vain oath-taking (bishvuat shav)”

 

The opposite of one transgression leads to another is that one mitzvah leads to another so let’s focus on observing more mitzvoth!

 

 

 
Fashion Isn’t Black and White Print E-mail
Thursday, 19 August 2010

How many times have you heard a religious woman being asked if she wears pants? What exactly is meant by that question? Are pants men’s suit pants? Are they ski pants? Are they baggy sweatpants?  Are they pink pants with sunflowers on them? Are they jeggings (jeans + leggings combined= very tight pants)?

 

Depending how you define pants, you may find that some styles are halachically acceptable while others can be problematic.

 

In Parshat Ki Tetze, Devarim 22:5 we read the words: “No male article shall be on a woman, and a man shall not wear a woman’s garment.”

 

The main prohibition here is trying to resemble the opposite sex.

 

Tur, Yoreh Deah 182 explains that “A woman should not wear clothing that by local custom is deemed to be exclusively male”.

 

After reading the Tur it is clear that men’s suit pants would be forbidden.

 

In the Gemara in Nedarim 49b we read that Rabbi Yehuda’s wife purchased wool and made a coat. When she went to the market she would wear it and when Rabbi Yehuda went to pray, he would wear it to pray.

 

We see from here that a woman can wear a unisex garment.

 

Rabbi Ovadia Yosef in his responsa, Yabia Omer explains that women who wear pants as protection from heat or cold surely have a source upon which to rely since many great rabbis have concurred with Bach, Taz and Shach who allow it.

 

From here we can learn that Ski pants (even if they are unisex) would be allowed as they protect us from the snow.

 

However, the Minchat Yitzchak brings a stricter opinion and says that the woman should not be skiing in the first place. If she stays at home then she won’t have to worry about protection from the elements.

 

Baggy sweatpants seem to be OK as well as they are unisex and are used for the purpose of exercising and mountain climbing.

 

There are women who are stricter and wear skirts on top of their sweatpants, a safeguard attributed to the Chazon Ish.

 

Yabia Omer, based on Rashba points out that Kli Gever (the prohibition against wearing men’s clothing) does not apply if the pants are cut differently than men’s and are of colors that men do not normally wear.

 

Based on this opinion, the pink pants with sunflowers may be OK.

 

So why does Yabia Omer still think that women should not wear pants on a regular basis if they are not Kli Gever?

 

His answer is that “Fine Jewish girls should not wear them at all, especially those that cling to the body, for they cause men to stare and to entertain especially sinful thoughts”.

 

From here it is clear- Rav Ovadia does not want the religious girls wearing jeggings as they are not modest attire- but by wearing them they are still not transgressing the Biblical prohibition of Kli Gever rather they are dressing immodestly.

 

We see from here that asking a religious woman if she wears pants is a very loaded question- the answer is not black and white as there are a lot of gray areas.

 

 

 
Fulfilling Pledges Print E-mail
Friday, 28 August 2009

In Parshat Ki Tetze, Devarim 23:22 we read the following: “When you make a vow (neder) to God, you shall not be late in paying it, for God will demand it of you and there will be a sin in you. If you refrain from vowing, there will be no sin in you. You shall observe and carry out what emerges from your lips, just as you vowed a voluntary gift to God, whatever you spoke of your mouth”.

 

If you make a pledge, how much time do you have to pay it off before you are considered “late in paying it”?

 

According to Rashi, you can wait until all three of the Shalosh Regalim (Pesach, Shavuot and Sukkot) have passed before you are considered “late”.

 

Why would a person make a pledge to give Tzedaka and not follow through?

 

Sometimes people are just forgetful. Some charities therefore like to send a lot of reminders (which can be problematic since they are costly and can also really annoy the person who made the pledge).

 

Others may feel obligated to get up during a synagogue appeal in order to show off with a large pledge that they later realize was too high. One good reason to go to a different shul on a day when your shul is having an appeal! After the holiday, you can quietly send in a donation that you are comfortable with.

 

As the founder and director of Torat Reva Yerushalayim, I am obligated to raise funds in order for us to continue with our very important and crucial programming in Jerusalem.  We offer many classes to neglected segments of the population such as shut in seniors in nursing homes.  We also provide classes to people with special needs such as mentally and physically challenged individuals in group homes and mothers who join us with their babies for Mommy and Me Torah study groups.

 All these classes are provided FREE OF CHARGE! And this is where we count on all of you! 

Now is the time where we need YOUR HELP!

 

If you have already made a pledge, please send it in! If you have not yet made a pledge-don’t! Just log on to the “Giving Opportunities” page on www.toratreva.org and make your donation on-line or take out your check book and surprise us by sending a check made payable to Torat Reva Yerushalayim to the US address below.

 

In addition please take a moment to read about our Western Wall Psalms program and consider becoming a part of this very meaningful opportunity.

 
 
Aliya or Divorce? Print E-mail
Thursday, 11 September 2008

Chapter 24 in Parshat Ki Tetze opens with the laws of divorce: “If a man marries a woman and lives with her, and it will be that she will not find favor in his eyes, for he found in her a matter of immorality, and he wrote her a bill of divorce and presented it into her hand and sent her from his house. And she left his house and went and married another man. The latter man hated her and wrote her a bill of divorce and presented it into her hand and sent her from his house…”

 

The last Mishna in Tractate Gittin (Divorce) addresses the question of what are legitimate grounds for divorce:

 

Beit Shamai says “A man may not divorce his wife unless he found in her an act of adultery (as stated above 24:1) “For he found in her a matter of immorality”.

 

Beit Hillel says even if she burned (overcooked or over salted) his food he may divorce her (as stated above 24:1) “For he found in her a matter of immorality”.

 

Rashi states that matter of immorality can refer to adultery (Beit Shammai) or any other matter (Beit Hillel).

 

Beit Hillel doesn’t mean that if a woman burned the soup then she should be divorced. Rather he is saying that Beit Shammai is being too strict in saying that adultery is the only reason for divorce. Sometimes there are irreconcilable differences that may make living together unbearable.

 

We also see this from the fact that in her second marriage her husband hated her and wrote a bill of divorce (24:3) and there is no mention of adultery.

 

For the divorce to be valid, both husband and wife have to consent. There must be free will on the part of the husband to give the get (Jewish divorce) unless the Beit Din (Rabbinic Court) compels him to give it (in the case of a recalcitrant husband refusing to grant a divorce where circumstances require it) and there must be free will on the part of the wife to accept it.

 

The woman can demand a get in the cases of incompatibility (based on her husband’s mistreatment of her) as well as in the cases of his physical defects.

 

The Rambam states that “a man should honor his wife more than he honors himself and love her as he loves himself. He should seek to provide for her according to his means. He shall not unduly impose his fear upon her, but he should speak to her gently and he should not be overly sad or angry.”

 

Tractate Ketubot 110b adds that if a husband wants to make aliya (settle in the Land of Israel) and the wife refuses then the husband has grounds to compel divorce. By the same token, if a wife wants to make aliya and the husband refuses, then the wife has grounds to compel divorce.

 

We see from here that it is important to seriously discuss any possible interest in making aliya before you get married or you can make aliya and then look for a spouse in Israel (who hopefully will not be looking to get on the next flight to America!)

 
Getting Paid on Time Print E-mail
Saturday, 01 September 2007

Sponsored by Isaac and Amy Halickman in memory of Phyllis Dalfen Silver

Parshat Ki Tetze emphasizes the mitzvot of treating others with respect and looking out for those who may be less fortunate.

In Devarim Chapter 20 sentence 14 we read: "You shall not cheat a poor or destitute hired person among your brethren, or a convert who is in your land or one who is in your cities. On that day shall you pay his hire; the sun shall not set upon him, for he is poor and his life depends on it; let him not call out against you to Hashem, for it shall be a sin in you".

Vaikra 19:13 already dealt with a similar theme: "You shall not cheat your fellow and you shall not rob; you shall not withhold a worker's wage with you until morning".

The pasuk in Vayikra deals with not withholding wages in general (and does not specify the rich or poor) and the psukim in Devarim specify that the wages of those who are less fortunate certainly should not be withheld.

The idea here is that just because a person may be more vulnerable doesn't mean that they should be taken advantage of.

In Israel today, many people live from paycheck to paycheck. If they are not paid on time then they will not be able to cover their bills. The law in Israel states that every worker must be paid by the tenth of the month. There is no differentiation between the rich and the poor.

Unfortunately, there are people in positions of power who try to take advantage of others. It is up to us to stand up for those who are more vulnerable and ensure that they are treated with respect and dignity.

 

 
Don't Rely on Miracles Print E-mail
Thursday, 31 August 2006

Dedicated in memory of Yoni Siegal z""l

Parshat Ki Tetze, Devarim 23:10 states: "Ki tetze machaneh al oyvecha v'neeshmarta mikol davar ra". "When you go out to encamp against your enemies take precautions from every evil thing." Sentence 15 continues "For HaShem your God is moving within your camp to save you and to defeat your enemies before you so your camp must be holy".

The first words of our Parsha, Devarim 21:10 state: "Ki tetzei lemilchama al oyvecha unetano HaShem Elokecha biyadecha v'shavita shivyo", "If you should go to war against your enemies and God puts them in your hand and you capture prisoners from them".

There is a difference in the wording between these two phrases. In Devarim 23:10 it says "Ki tetzi machaneh", "When you should go out to encamp", while in Devarim 21:10 it says "Ki tetze lemilchama", "If you should go to war".

Why does the Torah choose to use the word "machaneh" in reference to holiness as opposed to "milchama" which is used earlier? According to Sifrei D'bei Rebbe's comment on the Sifrei, the holiness comes from the group going out as a "machaneh". When the nation is at war, a large group should go out together in order to protect and strengthen each other. We should not send just a few soldiers in at a time relying on a miracle.

During all of Israel's wars, including this past one, we have seen many examples of soldiers going out of their way to help and protect each other. This has brought a tremendous amount of Kiddush HaShem, sanctification of God's name. There is a unique holiness that exists in the Israeli army.

However, we must not forget the three missing soldiers Gilad Shalit, Ehud Goldwasser and Eldad Regev who were kidnapped at the beginning of the war. There is not a bus stop or billboard in Israel that does not have a picture of one or all of these soldiers in order to raise awareness of the fact that we can not sit still until we know where they are. We must all do our part and continue to petition their safe return.

 
Why Was Ruth Allowed to Convert? Print E-mail
Thursday, 08 December 2005

In Parshat Ki Tetze (Dvarim 23:4) We are told "lo yavo amoni umoavi bikhal Hahsem", "An Ammonite or Moavite should not enter into the congregation of God". The reason that they are not allowed to convert to Jusaism is given in the next verse, "Because they did not meet you with bread and water when you came out of Egypt".

If Ammonites and Moavites are not allowed to convert, then how was Ruth, a Moaviah able to convert? The Gemara in Yevamot 76b teaches that the verse is only referring to the men. Therefore, a female Moavitess would be allowed to convert since the women were not the ones who were cruel. It was only the men who withheld the food and water.

Despite this fact, many in Ruth's generation believed that the rule applied to all Moavites, both men and women. Many believed that Ruth's conversion was not legitimate.

Boaz, the most important person at the time, married Ruth in order to show that her conversion was in fact legitimate. For those who still didn't accept her conversion, a few generations later her grandson King David was born. At that point there was no more denying it.

The Torah says over and over "veahavta et hager", "you shall love the convert".

Unfortunately in Israel today people with legitimate conversions are being discriminated against and told that they are not really Jewish.

We must stand up and help these converts in the spirit of the mitzvah of "veahavta et hager".