Parsha Ki Teitsei 5771: Kindness, Unity and Collective Responsibility vs Acquiescense to Evil

by Moshe Burt

Parsha Ki Teitsei teaches numerous Mitzvot such as; returning lost items to their rightful owners, loaning money to one’s fellow Jew free from interest, what one is permitted to or prohibited from taking from another Jew as loan security, Shatnes (wool and linen together), Tzitzit, and dealing fairly and truthfully with one’s fellow Jews in business. We also learn of Mitzvot such as sending a mother bird away before taking the young or the eggs and helping one’s fellow Jew load and unload a burden, fencing in a roof area and not harnessing together different species of animals on the same yoke.

The Maftir Aliyah of our Parsha tells us collectively to remember, for all time, the actions of Amalek who attacked B’nai Yisrael when they were weak while blotting the rememberance of Amalek from the earth.

We remember the Amelek without, but it seems a necessity that we remember the Amalek within as well; lo nishkach v’lo Nislach — we won’t forgive and we can’t and won’t forget the lack of justice, principle and morality of Israel’s governance as exemplified by the evictions of the last six years; i.e., the expulsion of Jewish Brethren from Gush Katif, Amona, the events in Chevron — in Shalhevet neighborhood, Beit Shapira, Beit HaShalom, Federman’s farm and more.

We also can’t forget Jonathan Pollard’s 25 years in US prison and ears of solitary confinement, due in large part to a benignly neglectful and disdainful Israeli governance who slammed the Embassy doors on him when he sought asylum and then were content for decades to seeing him languish in prison. Only recently did they begin making sounds on Pollard’s behalf due to intense pressure — or perhaps not to be embarrased by being outdone by the numbers of influencial Americans calling for the President’s commutation of Pollard’s term to time served.

Lest we forget the whole Oslo litany and debacle and much more. These are all reflective of an immense, ongoing rap sheet of perversion and subversion of justice amongst the leftist governing elitist establishment in Israel — who never seem to let the facts and the truth regarding Eretz Yisrael’s kedusha and the security and well-being of nation stand in the way of their liberal, socialist “2 state” ideology. Regarding the leftists, this author wrote in a recent talk-back that the expulsion of Jews from Gush Katif was the litmus test for any future government-mandated land hand-overs. Remember how the Gaza Islamics trashed former Gush Katif Batei Knesset and how they burned and destroyed all of the dunams of growth and greenhouses handed them on a silver platter, such that there can be no agriculture in Gaza. And do we have such short memories that we forgot/forget the Islamic Kassam/Grad blitzkreig on S’derot, Ashkelon, Ashdod, Beersheba and more that exists even today? How do we discount, disregard and forget even the the recent events; the attacks in Eilat or the attack on the Tel Aviv Club which was hosting a 1,000 teenagers holding an end of summer party as well as the hail of rockets falling upon southern towns to this very day? But then again. the left, the socialists never met a truth that they didn’t evade, avoid or let stand in their way.

And we mustn’t forget the past track record of the alleged “religious (sic) parties,” who ‘talk the talk’, expressing opposition to the lack of justice, principle and morality of the governing regime, yet haven’t the nack for courage — for ‘walking the walk’ as they sat glued to their seats as the expulsion of their brethren played out while one certain party abstained from taking a political stand because they were not assured of a majority. These “religious parties” continue their petty squabbling among themselves for political and financial spoils at the peril of both their own constituency and the entire Am Yisrael. These factions exhibit their own lack of justice, principle and morality thus enabling corrupt governance to “divide and conquer” thus jeopardizing the welfare of the nation, for their brethren and emboldening the israel’s enemies.

We find two posukim in our Parsha which express a concept far beyond the penalty for illicit relations with a betrothed woman;

If there shall be a virgin girl who is betrothed to a man, and a man finds her in the city and lies with her, then you shall take them both to the gate of that city and pelt them with stones and they shall die; the girl because of the fact that she did not cry out in the city… (Sefer Devarim Perek 22, posukim 23-24.)

Torah Gems, by Aharon Yaakov Greenberg, cites the Hidushei Ha-Rim on these posukim;

The young woman is put to death because she did not cry out when she was molested. From this we learn that if a person has the the ability to cry out against injustice and does not do so, it is as if he acquiesced to it. (Torah Gems, Volume 3, Parsha Shoftim, page 276)

The point here is silence toward evil denotes acquiescense, just as the married or betrothed woman who can cry out against her molestation and does not — thus acquiesces to it, is it not so as well with the masses who profess opposition to the lack of justice, principle and morality but who fail to cry out, scream out and take action against those who pervert or subvert them? If WE ourselves don’t “walk the walk”, how is it then possible to compel corrupt political leadership to do so?

In short, our Parsha emphasizes that the unity with which B’nai Yisrael goes out to war against her enemies evolves from collective responsibility, kindness, caring and fairness for and with each other. These attributes of being fair, straight with, and caring for another person are kinder than the insensitivity, indifference and disunity of making up any and every excuse or non-reason under the sun for an action or kindness not done. Collective unity — responsibility, kindness, caring and fairness for and with each other negates the possibility of a kindness not shown; whether the action relates to Shidduchim, to employment searching and interviews, to giving Tzeddakah, etc. or merely making the effort to hold a bus driver for another few seconds while his fellow huffs and puffs as he runs to catch the bus. This relates to each Jew individually and toward his fellow Jew.

Our lives and our hopes for a good year and good things to come hang in the balance of the Cheshbon, if you will, between our Mitzvot (good deeds) and our Aveirot (sins or violations of Divine law). Once again, as 5772 approaches, it’s “Clutch time” and as that famous coach says, “Our Mitzvot aren’t everything, they’re the Only Thing.”

May we, the B’nai Yisrael be zocha that our brethren — the refugee families from Gush Katif be permanently settled and be made totally whole — be totally restituted for all that was stolen from them at leftist-agendized, supreme court legalized gunpoint, that our dear brother Jonathan Pollard, captive Gilad Shalit and the other MIAs be liberated alive and returned to us in ways befitting Al Kiddush Hashem. May we have the courage to stand up to prevent the eviction of Jews from their homes and to prevent the handing of Jewish land over to anyone, let alone enemies sworn to Israel’s and Judaism’s destruction and eradication. May we fulfill Hashem’s blueprint of B’nai Yisrael as a Unique people — an Am Segula, not to be reckoned with as with “the nations” and may we be zocha to see the Moshiach, the Ge’ula Shlaima — the Ultimate Redemption bim hay v’yameinu — speedily, in our time”, as Dov Shurin sings; “Ki Karov Yom Hashem V’Kol HaGoyim” — Achshav, Chik Chuk, Miyad, Etmol!!!

Good Shabbos!

Moshe Burt is an Oleh, writer and commentator on news and events in Eretz Yisrael. He is the founder and director of The Sefer Torah Recycling Network and lives in Ramat Beit Shemesh, Israel.