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Friday, Elul 13 5782 / September 9, 2022


This week’s Parsha is Ki Teitzei - the sixth Parsha in the Book of Deuteronomy.  In this Parsha we find more mitzvot than in any other Parsha of the Torah (74 of the 613 mitzvot). 


The 613 mitzvot of the Torah fall into two categories: 1) Mitzvot between one person and another.

 2) Mitzvot which are between us and G-d. 


Most of the mitzvot in this Parsha concern behavior between people.  The fact that this Parsha is always read in the month of Elul, when we prepare for the New Year, teaches us that to prepare for the New Year, we must be especially careful how we behave toward our fellow.


One of the mitzvot in the Parsha is to refrain from "Lashon Hara," derogatory talk about others.  The Torah states, "When you go out in battle against your enemies, you shall keep away from every evil thing (Deut. 23:10)."  In the Torah, there are no vowels. In this case, the two Hebrew words, "Davar Ra" can also be read as "Dibur Ra," which means, you shall keep away from "speaking evil."


Later in the Parsha, the Torah repeats this message.  “Remember what the L-rd your G-d did to Miriam on the way when you came forth from Egypt." Miriam spoke to Aaron about their brother Moshe.  Although Miriam didn't mean any harm, yet, because she spoke about him in a derogatory way, she was punished.  This further reminds us that gossiping and speaking evil about others is a sin.


The Talmud says that Rabbi Alexandrai would announce, "Who wants life? Who wants life?"  Everyone would gather and reply, "We want lifeGive us life!"  


Rabbi Alexandrai would then recite the verse in Psalms 34: "Who is the man who desires life and who loves days of seeing only good? Guard your tongue from evil, and your lips from speaking deceitfully."


In Proverbs, King Solomon, the wisest of all people, gives the following advice, "Whoever watches his mouth and tongue, protects himself from troubles."


Honoring a commitment is also in this Parsha. We are also commanded to honor our charitable commitments. The Torah says, "When you shall make a vow unto the L-rd your G-d you shall not be slack to pay it... That which has gone out of your lips you shall observe and do." 


A collector for a worthwhile cause made an appeal in the synagogue on Shabbat.  The people pledged generously.  However, after Shabbat, no one came to pay the pledges. 


The following Shabbat he said to the congregation, "I see that when the Torah passes by, you stretch forth your hands and kiss it.  But when it comes to giving charity, you pledge with your mouth.  You have it all wrong!  You should kiss the Torah with your mouth and give charity with your hands!"




Montreal candle lighting time: 6:58 / Shabbat ends: 8:00