We are rapidly closing the book on the Jewish year of 5777. Soon we will mark the New Year and with G-d's help start anew. This week's Torah Portion can be found in Deuteronomy 21:10 - 25:19 it is called, in Hebrew, Ki Seitzi meaning "when you go" the first words from this week's reading.
"When you go..." denotes action on our part and while this portion opens up with a commandment about female captives following a battle it is also a reminder that to get to "someplace" we must activate ourselves to...go.
While that is the broader idea of this week's Torah Portion there is so much more here. Not only do we deal with captives but there is a litany of commandment here. Ready?
First-Born's Share, The Rebellious Son, Hanging and Burial, Returning Lost Articles, The Fallen Animal, Transvestitism, The Bird's Nest, Guard-Rails, Mixed Agriculture, Forbidden Combinations, Bound Tassels, Defamed Wife, Penalty for Adultery, Betrothed Maiden, Rape, Unmarried Girl, Mutilated Genitals, Mamzer, Ammonites & Moabites, Edomites & Egyptians, The Army Camp, Sheltering Slaves, Prostitution, Deducted Interest, Keeping Vows, Worker in a Vineyard, Field Worker, Divorce and Remarriage, New Bridegroom, Kidnapping, Leprosy, Security for Loans, Paying Wages on Time, Testimony of Close Relatives, Widows and Orphans, Forgotten Sheaves, Leftover Fruit, Flogging, The Childless Brother-in-Law, Weights and Measures, Remembering What Amalek Did to Us.
And all in one weekly reading. So many things to learn and digest. Let us focus on the first verse: "When you go out to war against your enemies, and the Almighty, your God, will give him into your hand..." (Deut. 21:10).
Notice the distinct change in wording. We go from the plural "enemies" to the singular "him". What is the Torah trying to teach us?
The Arizal, a great Kabbalist, says the Torah is telling us that if we have unity and are as one when we go out against our enemies, then even though our enemies are very numerous, you will be victorious as easily as if they were just one.
The importance of unity for accomplishment applies not only during times of war against an enemy. It is just as necessary during times of peace. When a group of people will work on any project with a spirit of togetherness, they will accomplish much more than if they would each be doing things as separate individuals.
A great lesson from just a few words.
Candle lighting times for Mason City is 7:29PM and Shabbat ends tomorrow at 8:29PM.
Finally a word about our dear friend Ruth Newman who lost her battle with cancer late Wednesday evening. Words are difficult to describe what Ruth meant to the synagogue. For decades she was the person or organized events, prepared food, waited on those who came for meals and the Midrash (Study session). But more than a servant role Ruth was a learner who enjoyed sharing her personal relationship with the Torah and encouraged hundreds of others to love and respect it and Israel. To Ruth the link between the Torah and the validity of Israel were one in the same.
We will miss her with each passing day. She was truly a beautiful person... Baruch Dayan Emet..."Blessed is the Righteous Judge".