Friday, September 09, 2011

Parshat Ki Tetze/Ki Teitzei, Ki Tétzé, Ki Tétsé. . .

You can read the basics here.
The sons of favored wives get no special favors, according to Deuteronomy 21:15-17 (see here). Of course, this rule would have forbidden the behavior of Yaakov Avinu/Jacob Our Father, in Sefer B’reishit/the Book of Genesis, in favoring Yosef/Joseph, the older son of favored wife Rachel, over his older brothers, who were the sons of Leah and both concubines. It’s a good thing that we have a tradition that chronology is irrelevant in the Torah (“There’s no ‘early’ or ‘late’ in the Torah/Ein mukdam u-m’uchar baTorah,” if I have the spelling , er, transliteration correct). :)
Ben Sorer u’Moreh/a stubborn and rebellious son (Deuteronomy 21:18-21—see previous link). Oy. In the long run, the rabbis made so many rules defining the Ben Sorer u’Moreh that it became, for all practical purposes, impossible to put a rebellious teenager to death, which is fortunate for us descendents, because some of us might not have survived our teenage years, otherwise. The rabbis claimed that no child ever suffered this punishment, I’ve heard. Whether or not that’s actually true, it’s good to know that, already in Talmudic times, this rule was considered so repugnant that it was legislated out of existence.

Sorry, was working on major projects at the office and got home late--no more time to write before Shabbat.


Blogger The Reform Baal Teshuvah said...

I think that the lives of the Patriarchs are in some ways intended as cautionary tales in support of the laws we are getting here.

Sat Sep 10, 10:38:00 PM 2011  
Blogger Larry Lennhoff said...

Note also the rabbis impose a narrative on the opening 3 halachot - A man who marries a war captive will come to loathe her and favor his other wife and her children, and the son of the first wife will respond to this by becoming a ben sorer u'morer.

This parsha also has more mitzvot described in it than any other.

Sun Sep 11, 12:23:00 AM 2011  
Blogger Shira Salamone said...

Reform BT, I think you may very well be right, but, for some reason that I don't understand in the least, the rabbis disagree. In my opinion, they shot themselves in the collective foot with their notion that there's no significance to the order in which events took place in the Torah's narrative, "Ein mukdam u-m'achar baTorah." Why would anyone care whether Avraham/Abraham served his angelic visitors milk or meat first, when, according to the Torah's narrative, the laws of kashrut/keeping kosher/"dietary laws," wouldn't be given until centuries after that act of hospitality? The same is true of the law forbidding a man to marry his wife's sister while she's still alive, and the law forbidding a man from giving the first-born son's double inheritance to the first-born son of his favorite wife. Why on earth did the rabbis back themselves into a corner with this notion? Insisting that Avraham knew the not-yet-given laws of kashrut and that Yaakov/Jacob knew the not-yet-given laws of permissible marriages and inheritance forces the rabbis to twist themselves into pretzels trying to explain that neither of them violated laws that they wouldn't have known about.

"A man who marries a war captive will come to loathe her and favor his other wife and her children, and the son of the first wife will respond to this by becoming a ben sorer u'morer." Larry, that's a nice interpretation on the part of the rabbis.

And the list of mitzvot mentioned in this parsha is, indeed, quite impressive.

Mon Sep 12, 11:40:00 AM 2011  
Blogger Larry Lennhoff said...

I think that the principal that there is no before or after in the Torah is not cited to explain the Avot's practice of halacha centuries before it was given. Rather that idea is a separate comment made in the Talmud. This comment is a subject of dispute among the rishonim whether to interpret it minimally or maximally , i.e., figuratively or literally.

Mon Sep 12, 02:35:00 PM 2011  
Blogger Shira Salamone said...

Larry, thanks for the link. It's good to know that opinions regarding what the Avot/Patriarchs knew and when they knew it are quite varied.

Mon Sep 12, 05:45:00 PM 2011  

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