Seventy-four of the Torah’s 613 commandments are in the Parshah of Ki Teitzei. Choosing an idea to write about this week was as difficult as shopping in Marshalls; nice things all over the place, you don´t know where to look first, and you have to sort through everything to find what speaks to you at that moment.
Some of the mitzvos this week include the laws of
the beautiful captive, laws governing the purity of the military camp,
the prohibition against turning in an escaped slave, and other laws and
discussions about fighting in war.
With laws as interesting as how
to respond to 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, 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...and a
whole lot more, why have I chosen to focus on war?
Not because it´s
the hot topic in the world now. This war has no connection to
Iraq or Syria, to the U.S., or to Israel. It has nothing to do
with Obama or to the ISIS.
The war I speak of is one that´s more personal than the
ones we read about in the media. It´s a war in which each
one of us are the soldiers. Or if we´re lucky, even the Generals.
battle is called LIFE.
In this world, we are in an ongoing war:
our spiritual selves battle our animal selves, our mind fights mindless
emotionality, and higher, broader vision constantly battles limited vision.
time we come to a crossroads where we have to choose a direction; to go
right or to go left, we experience an inner conflict.
we make will result in some
sort of sacrifice, so naturally we choose the easier one.
This set of antonyms, along with its partner- Good and Bad are very often misunderstood and subsequently the cause of confusion and frustration.
We often connect and confuse the two ideas by thinking
that easy equals good and hard equals bad.
The most practical example disproving this
misconception would be: chocolate cake vs. exercise. The cake is easy...way too easy...but it´s bad for you. Exercise is hard...oh, so
hard...but it´s good for you.
So, easy doesn´t mean good, and hard
doesn´t mean bad. Sometimes the more difficult the decision is to make,
the more beneficial it will be for us.
We are put to this test, not
just daily, but multiple times per day. In our physical lives, and in
our spiritual lives. I constantly find myself at a crossroads trying to
be victorious over my conflict of wills.
My will vs God´s will.
Intellectual vs emotional.
And sometimes, the battle is even
more intense, when we make a choice, but the
decision made presents a whole new set of choices, bringing us into the
overwhelming maze of question marks.
Like, choosing to admire instead of
ridicule, or to praise instead of slander, to be independent instead of
But... the war isn´t over yet. One must choose to admire, but
not envy, to follow but not imitate, to praise but not flatter, to lead
but not manipulate.
Life is an ongoing war. And, like in any war, the winner is the one who stoops in order to conquer.
Have a great Shabbos!