Ki Tetze: A Summary of the Parashah

Moses enumerates many laws that relate to topics of family relationships, interpersonal ethics, forbidden mixtures, and sexuality.

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The following article is reprinted with permission from Jewish Family & Life!

In continuing his last speech, Moses delivers specific rules on family relationships. "If a beautiful woman is taken captive in war, you may take her as your wife. However, you must wait a month before you take her, so that she may weep for her mother and her father. If you do not take pleasure in her, you must let her go as she wishes, and neither sell her for money, nor take advantage of her.

"If a man has two wives, one beloved and one hated, and they each give him a son, then the man is not at liberty to give the rights of the first-born son to the beloved wife's son over the hated wife's son. Rather, he must recognize the first-born, even if he is the son of the hated one, by giving him a double portion of all the man's possessions, because it is his birthright.

"If a man has a son who is disobedient and will not listen to his father and mother, then the parents shall take him to the elders of the city for judgment."

Then Moses continues with laws involving many aspects of daily living, justice, family responsibility, work and sexuality.

"If a murderer is killed by hanging, then you must bury him the same day.

"If you see your brother's animals go astray and find them, you must return the animals to your brother. If your brother is not near or you do not know the owner, then you may keep the animal until someone inquires for it and then you shall return it. You must apply this same rule to any lost items of your brother.

"No male garment shall be upon a woman nor any woman's garment be upon a man.

"If a mother bird is sitting on her eggs or is with her young ones, you must not take the mother with her young. You must set the mother free, but the young you may take for yourself.

"When you build a new house, you shall make a guardrail for your roof so no one shall fall.

"Do not sow your vineyard with mixed varieties of species.

"Do not plow with an ox and a donkey together.

"Do not clothe yourself with wool and linen together.

"Make yourself twisted threads on the four corners of your garment."

The specific laws pertaining to sexuality include promoting sexual innocence before marriage and stern commandments against adultery, rape, incest and children born out of wedlock.

"Keep away from every evil thing. Keep close guard to what is clean and what is unclean.

"You must not return a slave who has taken refuge with you from his master.

"There shall be no lewdness among the men and women of Israel.

"You shall not pay your brother any interest, be it interest in money or food, or anything that could be considered interest. You may pay interest to the stranger.

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Nancy Reuben Greenfield

Nancy Reuben Greenfield has written three adaptations of the Torah, including an
interactive family version at, and an engaging
Jewish immigrant novel, The Golden Medina, available on itunes and Amazon.