This week’s portion discusses the following topics: woman captives, birthright, rebellious son, Jewish burial, returning lost objects, woman’s garments, bird’s nest, guard-rails, mixed agriculture, Shatnez, tzitzizith, defamed wife, penalty for adultery, rape, marriage amongst other nations, pledges, divorce, bridegrooms, kidnapping, leprosy, loans, paying wages, testimony of close relatives, widows and orphans, leftover fruits, flogging, childless brother – in -law, wife helps husband in a fight, proper weights and measures and remembering Amalek.
What were the Jewish people told about captives?
What if a Jewish man took a liking to a woman he met on the battle field? Could he marry her?
Yes, provided she met a few conditions.
(When men went to war in those days it was the custom of non – Jewish nations to use their daughters in the field as beautiful harlots).The Jewish religion understood that a man in the time of war may show interest in marrying his captive. (For the conquering of the land only -other battles stipulated that captives were not allowed)
- She must shave off her head
- Let her fingernails grow
- Remove her garb (clothing)
- Mourn a full month for her parents (this would include her detachment form observing an idolatrous religion)
The first three would make her look disgusting in the eyes of her Jewish solider. The solider showed interest at first for this woman solely because of her appearance. She was dressed in fancy clothing and adorned herself to appeal to men in battle. If the man decides not to marry her he must send her away and is not permitted to receive any benefit from her: monetary or slavery.
Even after she mourned for thirty days a Jewish man couldn’t marry her for an additional 60 days.
What were Jewish men obligated to bring with them to war besides a weapon?
Why a spike?
The solider could dig a whole in order to make a bathroom. He was also required to cover it up when he finished.
What happened if a slave escaped to that of the army camp?
A Jew is not allowed to turn him back over to his master. He must be allowed to live alongside you where ever he chooses in your settlements.
This includes both slaves of Jewish people and Jewish slaves (circumcised) working for gentile masters.
If a man married two wives and one he favored more than another which son receives the birthright honors?
Which ever son is born first.
What did a first son receive?
He received two portions of his father’s property.
Is a Jew allowed to hang on gallows?
If one sees a Jewish person hung it is their obligation to bury the body. The body shouldn’t be left out overnight. A Jew must be buried on the same day.
Does a Jewish person have an obligation to return lost objects?
Yes, you must bring home the lost object even if you don not know who the owner is and keep it until your brother identifies it.
What happened if one saw in his travels a donkey that had fallen? (Due to its heavy load it was carrying)
A Jew isn’t allowed to ignore it. One is obligated to help his fellow Jew pick up the load!
Is a man allowed to wear woman’s clothing?
No, because such practices is revolting to G-d your Lord.
What mitzvah if kept will bring you long life and goodness?
If one sees a kosher bird’s nest with eggs it is our obligation to chase the mother away before taking it’s young.
One is not allowed to take the mother along with her young. This practice is seen constantly when cutting a tree down in a Jewish community!
Is their a law regarding the construction of a Jewish person’s house?
Yes, when one builds new home guard-rails must be placed along the roof.
What animals are not allowed to plow together?
An ox and donkey.
What clothing mixtures are Jews not permitted to wear?
Wool and linen in a single garment. Many Jewish communities will have an office that check for this in clothing. Most people don’t know if there is such a mixture by just eyeballing a wool material e.g., wool suit. People are trained in how to find this mixture in clothing. To find a place near you SHATNEZ TESTING to check your clothing. Their are alerts that are on the web to inform you about which clothing may have it and to be aware of before you start shopping for the entire family!
What is tzizith?
The ritual tzitizith are made by doubling over four threads so that eight appear to be coming from each corner of a four corner garment. A book on this topic is called Tzizith: A Thread of Light, by Rabbi Aryeh Kaplan. The author explains the reason why Jewish Men wear it and how it helps them in their journey in this world.
What happens if one is caught by two eyewitnesses committing adultery?
Both married woman and man are put to death.
What happens if a betrothed maiden has a relationship with another man?
Both the man and girl are brought to the gates of the city and put to death.
What happens if a betrothed girl was raped in the field?
The rapist is put to death. The man attacked her in the field even if she screamed out there would have been no one to come to her aid. This is similar to a case where a man rises up against his neighbor and murders him.
What happens if she wasn’t betrothed (engaged to be married)?
The rapist must give the girl’s father 50 shekels of silver. He must take her as his wife and may not send her away as long as he lives.
Can a man marry his father’s wife after he dies?
What kinds of people are only allowed to marry proselytes or freed slaves?
Men unable to have children
A child born out of an incestuous union – adulteress relationship
(This doesn’t include children from wedlock)
What nations are we not permitted to marry the men even after the tenth generation or make a peace treaty?
The Ammonite or Moabite nations
They didn’t greet you with bread and water when we left Egypt and hired Balaam to curse the Jewish people. (Even though Abraham showed special kindness to their ancestor Lot)
What about the Edomite and Egyptian nations?
The Edomites are descendants of Esau- Jacob’s brother. Jacob is one of the Jewish people’s forefathers.
The Jewish people shouldn’t despise the Egyptians because we were immigrants in their land (story of Passover).
Only the children born to members of these nations in the third generation after becoming proselytes may marry an Israelite.
Is prostitution permitted amongst Jewish men and woman?
No! This includes homosexual and heterosexual purposes.
What did a bill of divorce allow a woman?
It allowed her marry another man.
But, if her second husband died she wasn’t permitted to remarry her first husband.
What were the laws of a new bridegroom?
When a man takes a new wife he shall not enter military service. This is a year to rejoice with his wife.
What is the punishment of a kidnapper?
If a person kidnaps a fellow Israelite and forces him to serve and than sells him…. He shall be put to death.
What would a Jewish person do if s/he recieved leprosy?
S/he would be very careful not to remove it on their own, do all that he Levitical priests decide for you (quarantine). This was a commandment to the priest as well not to give any one special consideration. Miriam – (Moses’s sister) had leprosy and didn’t receive any such consideration. The punishment for talking negatively (LASHON HARAH = Evil speech) .about others was leprosy. Today, their are many campaigns on how to see if your words are utilized for good and not evil. The evil speech campaigns have allowed many to turn their words of hate into helpful words.
If a loan was requested from a neighbor what course of action is taken?
When one makes a loan to a brother he must do it out of the person’s home. He is requested to stand outside the home. The man who has the debt shall bring the security outside to the loaner. If the man is poor one must not allow him to go to sleep with out his security in case he may need it to go to sleep i.e.: clothing etc.
Is a parent allowed to be killed for the sins of a child?
What happens if a brother dies childless?
The dead man’s wife shall not be allowed to marry an outsider. Her husband’s brother must cohabit with her making her his wife. The first-born son whom she bears will perpetuate the dead brother’s name. Thereby, the dead brother’s name will not be obliterated from Israel.
What happens if the brother refuses to take his dead brother’s wife?
The sister-in-law shall go up to the elders in court and declare that he has not consented to perform his brotherly duty. The elders of his city would summon him and discuss the issue at hand. If after the meeting he still is adamant on refusing this woman to be his wife a ceremony will take place. The sister-in-law will approach her brother -in-law before the elders.
What happens in the ceremony?
She must take off his shoe, spit toward his face and declare that this is what shall be done to the man who will not allow (her to) build up a family for his brother. The name of this place shall be called “the house (where) the shoe was removed! This practice was done and can be seen in museums all over the world. (Shoe Museum in Toronto and in the artifacts found in Israel)To read more about it in detail
Who was Amalek?
On the way out of Egypt they encountered your tried and exhausted nation. They didn’t show any mercy or consideration instead they killed those that lagged behind. They didn’t fear G-d. Therefore, when the Jewish person conquers the land of Israel as a heritage the memory of Amalek must be obliterated from under the heavens. The story of Purim discusses our victory over Amalek (Haman came from the Amalek nation).