Weekly Words of Torah goes PC (Parashah and Chesed) – Parashat Ki Teitzei 5779 

To inspire, guide, engage, enrich, and empower Conservative Jewish Women
By Rabbi Ellen S. Wolintz-Fields, Executive Director, Women’s League For Conservative Judaism

The following topics are discussed in this week’s Torah Reading, Parashat Ki Teitzei: The passion of soldiers in battle; a firstborn son’s right not to be deprived of his father’s inheritance; death of wayward and rebellious son; hanging of a person executed by stoning for blasphemy; protection of prosperity; avoidance of excessive mingling of men and women; forbidden relations in a marriage; sexual promiscuity; vows to God; divorce; remarriage; death penalty for kidnapping; slander; debtors; payment of workers, orphans, widows and the poor; embarrassment; honesty in monetary issues; remembering what Amalek did to the Israelites.

The law given in Parashat Ki Teitzei, in Deuteronomy 22:6-7, about a mother bird and her young is a good example of the Torah’s attitude toward the treatment of animals. Judaism bases the law of kindness to animals on the notion that living things feel pain. These laws legislate the Jewish value of tzaar ba’alei chayim, which means “suffering of living things.” The Torah teaches us to prevent and alleviate the suffering of animals. For a Chesed project related to Parashat Ki Teitzei, contact your local SPCA or animal shelter, and see if perhaps they need volunteers. In addition, have a Sisterhood and synagogue collection of the following items that many animal shelters need: Pet food and treats, toys, towels, blankets, old newspapers, paper towels, cleaning supplies, garbage bags, plastic bags, hand wash and hand sanitizer, laundry detergent, fabric softener, and bleach. Shelters are often cold, and animals, like humans, like to cuddle up with a warm blanket. Towels are often needed to dry off animals after they are bathed, or if they get wet. Furthermore, towels or blankets can be used to line animal cages, so they do not have to be perfect, or in brand new condition. Many shelters also can use bedding.

Weekly Words of Torah is a brief paragraph prepared weekly by our Executive Director, Rabbi Ellen S. Wolintz-Fields, presented in our “This Week @ Women’s League.” WWOT will provide meaningful thoughts related to the Weekly Torah Portion, an event on the Calendar, a Prayer, or something of Jewish interest, to inspire, guide, engage, enrich, and empower Conservative Jewish Women. If you have any particular interest in future topics, or want to send Rabbi Wolintz-Fields an email, you can contact her at ewolintz-fields@wlcj.org. Read previous Weekly Words of Torah here, and stay up-to-date with the latest WWOT theme, Chesed, here.