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Table Talk: Ki Teitzei Print E-mail

Table TalkThe Captive Woman (21:10-14): This entire section contains distinct allusions to the evil urge. It is this urge that causes a person to sin on an ongoing basis and it usually approaches him in the guise of an irresistible urge, often allegorically described as an attractive and desirable woman. This allure is employed by the evil urge to lure people into satiating their various cravings for the forbidden. One way of ridding oneself of it is to strip the evil urge of its power, which is represented by its hair – as with Samson. Thus, the Torah commands us to shave off the captive woman’s hair. Prior to Adam’s sin, his clothing consisted of nails – a tough lizard like skin. When the Torah speaks of “doing the nails” of the captive woman it is an allusion to regain the status of Adam who wore “nails”. (Rabbeinu Bachya, Translated by Eliyahu Munk) The Alshich HaKodesh (also translated by Eliyahu Munk) takes a similar approach: You must learn how to counter the four impure urges that cause you to act purely in response to physical urges: 1) You encountered a new phenomenon, and were naturally avid to taste it. 2) You have been seduced by the prisoner’s clothing externals. 3) The psychological reaction to the natural fears that accompany you when you go to war, or engage with a new type of struggle, and the natural euphoria when you emerge victorious. 4) The pleasure derived from your share of the captured wealth; the challenge of having too much. Discussion Points: Define and list the different destructive drives described in the context of this Mitzvah that cause us to misdirect our creative urges. Define and list the strategies alluded to by this Mitzvah to better control those destructive drives.

Returning Lost Objects (Chapter 22:1-3):
There is more to this Mitzvah/Concept than merely the act of restoring lost property. If a person is in a position to perform a useful service for his fellow and to thereby protect him against financial loss, is also part of this Mitzvah/Concept. (Rabbeinu Bachya) Consider ways that we can “restore” things to others such as dignity or joy.

Returning Lost Objects II:
These verses describe the process of the Resurrection: God will practice this commandment personally by restoring the souls of the departed bodies to their original owners in due course after the Redemption and the arrival of the Messiah. Each person will resume his or her original role in the universe. The most recent owner of the “property” will return it to the previous owner and so forth until it will be eventually restored to the very first owner. (Rabbeinu Bachya)
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