Ki Tetze

Hello dear members and friends of Kolot Mayim,

This is such a busy time of year – and even busier this year, I think. We are doing our best to keep connected, and as we look into fall and winter we will be trying to make sure those connections stay strong. Please be in touch with me; you don’t need to be sick or sad to call me, (though please call me if you are). I am happy to have a cup of coffee and visit.

Ki Tetze, our reading of the week, reminds us in many ways of this need to stay connected with each other. Ki Tetze has, in fact, a very lengthy series of verses about our very practical obligations towards each other: paying wages on time, burying in a timely way – even someone deemed a sinner, return people’s lost property to them, building a fence around the roof of your new house to ensure no one falls from the roof, don’t commit adultery, how to divorce and how to re-marry, and ensuring honest weights and measures in all your business dealings – and more. Much, much, more.

Now some might say, why all this attention to these seemingly non-religious matters? Why is our tradition so concerned about all these details? And we reply, all these details are the stuff of daily life. We are taught that one of the questions we will be asked as we attempt to be admitted to heaven, is this: Were we honest in our business dealings? We learn, “A perfect and honest weight shall you have, a perfect and honest measure shall you have, so that your days shall be lengthened on the Land that God your God gives you.” Torah, our blueprint for a good life teaches that dishonesty in business always comes home. So measure for measure we must bring our honesty into all of our relationships.

Torah is obligating truth, emet, in all of our relationships – but not truth in the service of hurting or embarrassing or humiliating those around us. Truth begins within. Torah is our guide towards truth.

Another acrostic: אֱמֶתAleph, the first letter is the first letter of our aleph-betmem, the middle letter, is the middle letter of the aleph-bet, and Tav is the final letter. All the words, all the wisdom, and all of the truth, emet, are in Torah, and all are spelled using the letters of the aleph-bet – Aleph to TavMay this month of Elul be a month of emet for us all.

Kein yehi ratson,

Rabbi Lynn