This week we are reading Parashat Ki Teitzei, which means: “when you go out.”
Parshat Ki Tetze demands that we, as human beings take some responsibility and act on behalf of those in need, to try ensure that justice is done, and thereby to act as partners with God in repairing the world in which we live.
Ki Teitzei is chock-full of instructions and detailed laws on various topics, but it really focuses on how each person is expected to act every time they “go out”. (Remember your parents saying, “Now, when you’re in public I expect you to be on your best behavior) In fact, this portion contains more commandments than any other portion in the Torah. The idea of including the commandments is to make sure that we focus our attention and our actions on creating a society where people start taking responsibility, and actually take care of each other. It says in the Parashat “You must not remain indifferent”(Deut 22:3)
In addition, and very timely, I might add… the Parashat refers to the treatment of women. This is something that the Israelites were taught never to be indifferent to. It was clear in Ki Teitzei that the dignity of women was to be protected. We’re talking about rape here. Plain and Simple.
There are no varying degrees of rape. To suggest otherwise is inaccurate and insulting and minimizes the serious physical and psychological repercussions for all victims of rape. Theyseemed to get it.
Throughout the Parashah, Ki Tetze is concerned with defining human responsibility toward others. Cain may have asked, “Am I my brother’s keeper?” in Genesis 4:9. Parshat Ki Tetze responds with:“Yes”!