Saturday, August 18, 2007

Ki Tetzei summary

During battle against an enemy nation, a man may capture a woman as a wife, but must give her a month to mourn her family. If at the end of this time he still wishes to marry her he may do so, provided that she converts to Judaism. If either he or she refuses, she must be set free and may not be sold into slavery.
The eldest son receives a double portion of his father's inheritance. A rebellious son who refuses to listen to his parents or any other authority, but steals to obtain food and alcohol, should be put to death by the courts1. The corpse of someone who has been put to death by the courts must be hung on a tree, but must be taken down and buried before night fall.
Lost objects must be returned to their owner. If the finder cannot contact the owner he must care for the found object until the person who has lost it can reclaim it. If someone sees an animal fallen under the weight of its burden they must help the owner to reload the animal properly. Men may not wear women's clothing nor vice versa. The mother bird must be shooed away before taking the eggs from her nest. We are commanded to build a safety fence from any accessible roof to prevent injury. We may not plant grape vines and other plants in close proximity. We may not plough with an ox and a donkey together. We may not wear a garment which contains both linen and wool. We must wear tzitzit on all four cornered garments.
If a man falsely accuses his wife of having had an extramarital affair while they were betrothed he shall be fined 100 silver shekels. If the accusation is true the woman shall be put to death by stoning. If a married woman commits adultery both she and the and the adulterous partner shall be put to death. If a man rapes a woman he shall be put to death. If a man seduces an unmarried woman he shall be fined 50 silver shekels.
A man may not marry his father's wife. A man whose reproductive organs have been damaged so that he is impotent may not marry2. A mamzer (the child of a relationship which is incestuous or adulterous) may not marry into the nation. A male Ammonite or Moabite may not marry into the nation even after they convert to Judaism because their nation was inhospitable to the Jews during the exodus from Egypt. We shall not reject an Edomite or Egyptian convert. The third generation may marry into the nation.
When the Jews go out to war their camp must remain holy. Any man who has a seminal emission must leave the camp and not return until the evening after immersion in a Mikva. A latrine should be made outside the camp, with a shovel to cover over the refuse.
We must not force a slave who has escaped to return to his master. There shall be no promiscuous men or women amongst the Children of Israel. We may not charge interest on loans to other Jews. Any vow of a sacrifice to the Temple must be fulfilled without delay. The workers have the right to eat from the produce that they are harvesting.
If a man and woman get divorced the man must write a bill of divorce and present it into his wife's hand. If she remarries, her first husband may not later remarry her. Any man is exempt from army duty for the first year of marriage. He must remain at home and make his wife happy. We may not take something needed for livelihood as collateral on a loan. Someone who kidnaps another and sells him as a slave must be put to death. We are commanded to beware of Tzora'at (a spiritual malaise brought about through speaking slander about another) and to not speak slander. Someone who loans money may not enter the house of the debtor to take collateral. Workers must be paid immediately, and must not be cheated. Each person is responsible for their own actions, and will not be punished for the sins of others. There is an explicit prohibition on perverting the judgement of a convert, orphan or widow. The corners of the field must not be harvested, but left for the poor people to glean.
The punishment for breaking a negative prohibition which has no other explicit punishment is forty lashes. An ox must not be muzzled while it is threshing. If a man dies without any children, one of his brothers should marry his wife to keep his name alive. If the brothers refuse to do this, they are publicly humiliated by the widow in the chalitza ceremony, after which she is free to marry someone else. In any other case, it is forbidden to humiliate another and compensation must be paid for causing embarrassment. It is forbidden to own dishonest weights or measures.
We are commanded to always remember what the tribe of Amalek did to the Jews as they left Egypt, and when we have the opportunity G-d will command us to utterly destroy their descendants.

1)This is in order to save him from committing murder when he gets older, which he will certainly do in order to maintain his addictions. In fact the Talmud understands that the requirements for killing a rebellious son can never be met, and this entire section is only for study, but has no practical application.
2) If the impotency came about through natural means such as a birth defect or illness this prohibition does not apply.

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