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Ki Teitzei in a Nutshell

Ki Teitzei in a Nutshell

Deuteronomy 21:10–25:19


Seventy-four of the Torah’s 613 commandments (mitzvot) are in the Parshah of Ki Teitzei. These include the laws of the beautiful captive, the inheritance rights of the firstborn, the wayward and rebellious son, burial and dignity of the dead, returning a lost object, sending away the mother bird before taking her young, the duty to erect a safety fence around the roof of one’s home, and the various forms of kilayim (forbidden plant and animal hybrids).

Also recounted are the judicial procedures and penalties for adultery, for the rape or seduction of an unmarried girl, and for a husband who falsely accuses his wife of infidelity. The following cannot marry a person of Jewish lineage: a mamzer (someone born from an adulterous or incestuous relationship); a male of Moabite or Ammonite descent; a first- or second-generation Edomite or Egyptian.

Our Parshah also includes laws governing the purity of the military camp; the prohibition against turning in an escaped slave; the duty to pay a worker on time, and to allow anyone working for you—man or animal—to “eat on the job”; the proper treatment of a debtor, and the prohibition against charging interest on a loan; the laws of divorce (from which are also derived many of the laws of marriage); the penalty of thirty-nine lashes for transgression of a Torah prohibition; and the procedures for yibbum (“levirate marriage”) of the wife of a deceased childless brother, or chalitzah (“removing of the shoe”) in the case that the brother-in-law does not wish to marry her.

Ki Teitzei concludes with the obligation to remember “what Amalek did to you on the road, on your way out of Egypt.”

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Discussion (11)
August 25, 2014
These summaries are great! Thank you so much for posting them!
August 19, 2013
To Yirmiyahu
The most straightforward difference would be that a Kedeishah is a woman who is a regular prostitute, while a Zonah could be any woman who had illegitimate relations with a man, regardless of whether this is a regular practice or a one-time affair. Anything given her for the affair cannot be used for sacrificial purposes. The root KDS means set aside, and it could be for good, i.e. something holy, or for not good, something objectionable. Nachmanides says that in Hebrew, words are often used to mean the opposite of their actual meaning, so that Kedeishah means un-holy.
The Torah does not speak explicitly about conversion at all. It uses the phrase of a foreigner who sojourns with you, which means that a member of another nation comes to live with Israel. The person's conversion is assumed. When would we start counting three generations? From when they come to join the Jewish people, i.e. convert.
Rabbi Shmary Brownstein
August 17, 2013
How to read
This is one of those Parshas which should be read beginning with the end as the last statement are the reasons behind the last statement. The real question this Parsha addresses is "Why does Amalek exist?" Amalek exists because he never received instruction in the 74 mitzvot. The goal of the 74 mitzvot is to inculcate order, balance, discipline and justice into the life of the individual. With discipline would come discernment and the ability to make clear distinctions. This is what Amalek and his kind lacked besides a fear of God.
Russell Kaleolani Shenn
Atlanta, GA
August 15, 2013
A couple of questions
I have a couple of questions regarding this parsha.

1) Why in one pasuk is a prostitute referred to as a 'Kedeisha' and the next pasuk referred to as a 'Zonah'. How is Kedeisha related to Kadosh (since it has the same shores)

2) Why does the Torah not specifically say the third generation of egyptians or edomites from the generation that converted?
August 30, 2012
Re: Marital Infidelity
The subsequent verses (Deuteronomy 22:20-21) discuss just that. See Parshah in Depth for more:
Rabbi Shmary Brownstein
August 26, 2012
Ki Tietzei
How about a proven case of marital infidelity?
Rochester, NY
September 22, 2011
Mother. bird and her children
it is so interesting to me that today a friend told me, not knowing about this mother bird instruction that she had been very upset during the building of her new home that a workman discovered a robin's nest in a nearby tree. This discovery would have necessitated destruction of the nest given proposed plans. my friend Marlene was distraught but to hold up everything to wait for these eggs to hatch would be costly. A workman had an idea, carefully removed the nest and put it in another tree. The mother bird was initially distraught but found the nest.
It was a mitzva to save these fledgling robins!
Ruth housman
Marshfield , Ma
September 21, 2011
Mother Bird
When G_d destroyed the world in Noah's day, he left a bit of humanity left to start over. In the instruction about the mother bird, there is the similar thought of leaving someone to start over the family/breed again. No matter how much His people have gone through, they have not been annihilated completely. Sometimes we struggle to see the compassion, but it is there.
Prescott, AR/US
September 10, 2011
Wasn't Ruth Already A Spiritual Jewess
What comes to my mind is that perhaps HaShem considered Ruth a Jewess already, as she had accepted Him by heartfelt faith (come into Judah by sincere faith in Him), and had formerly been the wife of Naomi's son.
MIshis Lassie
September 8, 2011
Why so many mitzvahs in the month of Elul in this Parsha, does these mitzvahs have to do something with forgiveness and compassion?
New York, NY/ USA
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