This week’s portion covers an array of commandments for a variety of circumstances, from marriage and relationships to caring for the less fortunate. Some of the commandments pertain to man’s relationship with God, but most of them address the relationship between fellow humans. Like the rest of the book of Deuteronomy, this is part of Moses’s farewell address to the people, and in it he touches on a number of events which happened during their sojourn in the desert, including the war with Amalek.
Topic 1: A Law for Every CircumstanceOur portion begins with a series of scenarios, listing what the God-fearing Israelite must do in each case. The first of these is a situation in which a soldier comes across a beautiful captive during war. If he wishes to take her, he must first allow her to mourn her family for a month, shave… Read More »
Topic 2: Some Laws Regarding MarriageThe next group of laws Moses outlines relate to marriage. The first deals with a husband who comes to despise his wife and accuses her of not being a virgin when they married. If her parents produce signs of her virginity to the elders of the city, the husband is required to keep her as… Read More »
Topic 3: Several Laws for a Holy PeopleThe next lengthy stretch of the portion deals with a variety of brief laws. We have broken it up into two sections for manageability. To keep the camp holy, anyone impure due to a nocturnal emission must sit outside the camp until he is purified. Among a soldier’s equipment, he must also keep a… Read More »
Topic 4: More Laws for a Holy PeopleIt is forbidden to take advantage of the weakest segments of society. Likewise, a worker’s wages must be paid on time. Fathers and sons may not be held accountable for each other’s actions. You may not pervert the justice of the convert or the orphan, nor may you take the garment of a… Read More »