Torah Commentary

The Power of Collective Memory

August 15, 2021Cantor Evan Kent
This week’s Torah portion, Ki Teitzei, contains 72 of the 613 commandments. We read of laws regarding the taking captives, how to deal with a rebellious son, laws specific to the burying of the dead, whom you cannot marry, and laws of divorce.

Seeing Ourselves in Torah

August 23, 2020Rabbi Max Chaiken

Just after the opening number of the 1992 animated Disney classic Aladdin, its title character sings “One Jump Ahead,” a catchy tune that introduces us to the young “street rat” and his sidekick, Abu, after they’ve stolen a loaf of

From Collective Memory to National Identity

September 14, 2019Cantor Elizabeth Sacks

A litany of laws. A multitude of mitzvot. According to Maimonides, Ki Teitzei contains 72 of the 613 commandments in the Torah — the most commandments in any one Torah portion. As the time for the Israelites’ transition into the Land draws ever nearer, God and Moses continue to prepare the people for sovereignty and self-government. In addition to laws that cover rules and regulations within the Israelite community, this portion also includes two passages that dictate the relationship between the people of Israel and neighboring entities. 

Ethical Existence Is in the Details

August 25, 2018Rabbi Rachel Sabath Beit-Halachmi, Ph.D.

Through a web of seemingly disjointed scenarios, the Book of Deuteronomy is filled with large and small methodologies for preserving the possibility of ethical behavior even in the worst contexts.... Reading the Torah portion Ki Teitzei demands facing a battery of situations in which the average human being might not behave ethically, even in the smallest detail of life, and yet prescribes a way to be ethical nonetheless

When a Debtor Does Not Repay

September 2, 2017Rabbi Professor Marc Saperstein

Ki Teitzei has a treasury of Jewish legal and ethical literature, including a discussion of lenders and debtors. When a debt is not repaid, the lender is forbidden from entering the debtor's home without permission to retrieve the security. The rule poses challenges both for lenders and debtors.