Parsha Ki Tetzei: Deuteronomy 21:10-25:19, Isaiah 54:1-10, 1 Corinthians 5:1-5

To our 9:00 am Shabbat Ark of Prayer and the Mishpacha within,

This week’s parsha is Ki Tetzei: Deuteronomy 21:10-25:19, Isaiah 54:1-10, 1 Corinthians 5:1-5. Hebrew for “when you go”.

This is a very difficult parsha for me because it is filled with some very difficult, and to me seemingly unjust, commandments from G-d. I was unnerved to have the gross evil of ISIS come to my mind as I read G-d’s word talking about categories of behavior which are reminiscent of the atrocities of ISIS.

But I suspect that part of my discomfort is that I do not understand the culture and cultural literacy of that time. In fact G-d’s commandments may have been a huge improvement over the current practices of that time by setting more compassionate boundaries. But I do know that, whatever my reactions are, I can always assume this is a problem with me and not G-d as G-d is always just and good.

So about boundaries.

Here is what I see in this parsha. G-d is concerned that I be fair and just and quickly fulfil my commitments. He is concerned that I make restitution for any wrong I have intentionally or unintentionally committed. He does not want me to take advantage of my position against anyone, but especially against weaker people. And as He moves around in my life to protect me and to defeat my enemies, He wants me to keep my physical and spiritual environment holy and “clean” because He is holy and so should the places through which He passes.

All of G-d’s concerns in this parsha relate to being trustworthy which is an absolute necessity for anyone who calls themselves a Yeshua follower. This is doubly true for someone like me who is in a recovery program which requires rigorous honesty to stay out of denial about his compulsions.

All enduring relationships, whether friendships, marriages, or employment and family relationships, are built on trust. When I make a promise I must keep it, even if the “cost” and inconvenience is much more than I originally expected.

Lying is a problem for many people. Many find it is easier to avoid accountability and confrontation than to tell the truth and deal with the consequences . But lying always breaks down relationships and will always eventually kill them.

But I have found, even though it is uncomfortable in the short term, that it is always best to tell the truth. When people know firsthand that I am dependable, they will typically cut me some slack and even offer forgiveness when I have not kept a commitment or harmed them in some way. But they would never do that if I was not trustworthy.

One way I use to keep drama out of my life and to enable me to keep my commitments is to count the cost (Proverbs 21:5, Ecclesiastes 5:5, Luke 14:28-31). Once I say “yes” then I’m all in. Until then I do not have any obligations and no reason to lie about anything.

I am by no means perfect. But when I keep my side of the street clean, at whatever the cost, I can look to G-d and to those around me and say, “I did the best I knew how to do” and have a clear conscious without the temptation to lie.

This parsha, once again, shows how much G-d desires us to have healthy relationships, proper authority structures, and to repent, offer restitution and seek reconciliation to those we have harmed.

May you be blessed this week, “when you go”, with the opportunity to share your experience, strength and hope with someone that can use your light and love.

I hope if you that are able, you will join the 9:00 am Shabbat Teva Tefillah. We pray for the Temple, for Israel and our government.

Blessings to you and yours. May this week be G-d filled and peaceful within the storm.

Your brother in Yeshua in the TEVA TEFILLAH,

Kurt


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