This week's parasha is Ki Tetze or "When You Go Out" for us English-speakers, and can be found in Deuteronomy 21:10 - 25:19. At first glance, it seems like a bunch of random rules all thrown in one chapter and stirred a bit for good measure. I seriously had to read the portion 3 times before I felt confident even to even write about it. Why all the "random" laws? If God is so powerful, couldn't He be a bit more organized???
Here's the thing - God's idea of organized is much, much different than our idea of organized and this portion is yet another to prove this theory. For example, the first section talks about what to do if you go out to war and see a pretty lady from the other side that you want to marry. This follows into a section about what to do if you have two wives, one loved and the other unloved. Hmmm...and then of course, the very next section talks about what to do if you have a very rebellious son...which a few verses later digresses into what to do if you are walking along and happen upon a nest with a mother bird and some chicks. See what I mean?
I was listening to the radio as I was getting ready for work this morning, and one of the morning show hosts was telling a story about how one day he prayed for a car. "And make it a convertible while You're at it," he added, rather sarcastically. Well, about two hours later, someone had given him a car. Yep, it's a convertible. He went on to say that while he's very thankful for the car and still amazed that this happened, the only explanation is that for some reason God decided to give him a car that day. A convertible.
People could say that was random, or that it was just "coincidence." Well, I happen to not believe that anything is coincidence, but I also do not believe that there is a "magic formula" when it comes to prayer. God is just not like that. Yes, there are prayers in the Bible that are all fine and great to pray, and I do so myself quite often. However, we have to get passed this idea that this infinite, all-powerful, King over kings over kings confines Himself to this teeny, tiny little box that we so often deduce Him down to. He just doesn't fit.
So, back to the "random rules" of Ki Tetze. I actually don't think they are random at all. Do I have an explanation for why they are where they are? Not at all! I actually don't have a clue...but that's the beauty of God. When you read these teachings, they actually make a lot of sense and I think we would do well to observe them today. (Read my last post here). Especially the part about paying a hired worker before sunset! I would LOVE to get paid everyday!
The last part of the portion seems really out of place, especially the first two times I read the portion this week. However, this evening as I was reading it, it all made sense. Deuteronomy 25:17 -19 says,
Remember what the Amalekites did to you along the way when you came out of Egypt. When you were weary and worn out, they met you on your journey and cut off all who were lagging behind; they had no fear of God. When the LORD your God gives you rest from all the enemies around you in the land he is giving you to possess as an inheritance, you shall blot out the memory of Amalek from under heaven. Do not forget!
Today, the seventh anniversary of 9/11, we remember what was done, in hatred and evil, to our country. The motto of the day is, "Never forget!" How fitting that we read this portion this week as we remember that infamous day when modern-day Amalekites allowed evil to prevail and killed many precious lives. May those who perished be remembered for good, and may we all be reminded that life is short and we must use the time that we have to do good and live for what is ETERNAL.
Shabbat Shalom!Picture courtesy of Allposters.com, who is having a $4.98 poster sale!