This week’s portion discusses the following topics: the benefits of accepting the commandments, don’t worship idols, the Levites, offerings, an idolatrous prophet, idolatrous missionaries, apostate city, forbidden animals, aquatic creatures that are kosher and non kosher, birds that are kosher and non kosher, second tithe, tithe for the poor, laws for lending money, Israelite slave, first born animals, holiday of Passover, holiday of Shavuoth and laws of Sukkot
The witness’s hand must be the first against him to kill him, followed by the hands of other people.
Pelt him to death with stones.
What is an apostate city?
When the inhabitants of a city have gone astray and worshiped another god!
What kinds of fish are kosher?
Those that have fins and scales.
What birds are Jewish people not allowed to eat?
eagles, white vulture, black vulture, kite, entire raven family, ostrich, owl, gull and hawk families, falcon, ibis, swan, pelican, magpie, cormorant, stork , heron family, hooper, bat, ossifrage and the osprey.
What is a second tithe?
A Jew is obligated to take from his fields and give produce to the Levites (group that didn’t have any hereditary portion to grow produce – worked in the temple). This was done in sabbatical cycle except the third and sixth years. The farmer was obligated to give the produce to the Levite.
What is the tithe for the poor?
At the end of each three year period farmers brought out all of the tithes from that year’s crop. The produce would be placed in the fields for the foreigners, orphans, widows and Levites inorder to eat and be satisfied. The Levite in the third and sixth year would come with the above groups to gather food to take home.
What would be the advantage of the levites coming with an orphan to gather food?
This would allow the orphan (widow, foreigner) to see that even the lofty people who work in the temple will gather and eat the same produce. It allows the levite to meet with the individuals if they want to talk or pray for them/ their loved ones.
If I’m not a farmer how does this affect me?
Well, a Jew has an obligation to help his neighbor even today with out the temple. Ten percent of a Jewish person’s income is given to charity. It is customary before lighting candles that a woman puts money in front of her children in the charity box. Children need to know that when you ask for blessings and good things for one’s family (this is done weekly over the bracha/blessing performed on the Sabbath candles) that others are thought of as well!