Parashat Ki Tetze, Do our hearts have equal weights and measures?


In this week’s reading from Parashat Ki Tetze (Devarim / Deuteronomy 21:10-25:19) Moshe lists 21 Mitzvot fontning a number of topics when the people enter into the Promised Land: (i) Laws relating to prisoner of war (21:10-15), (ii) Inheritance to the first born (21:15-17), (iii) Rebellious children (21:18-21), (iv) Capital punishment by hanging on a tree (21:22-23), (v) Not damaging your neighbor’s property (22:1-4), (vi) Prevent personal injury (safety/common sense) (22:8), (vii) Planting seed (22:9), (viii) Don’t work two different animals side by side (22:10), (ix) Wearing multi-threaded clothing (22:11), (x) Tzitzit (12:12), (xi) Divorce (22:13-21; 24:1-4), (xii) Adultery (22:22), (xiii) Fornication (22:23-29), (xiv) Incest (22:30), (xv) Damaged genitalia (23:1-3), (xvi) Finances (Interest) (23:20-21), (xvii) Stealing from Adonai by neglecting a vow (23:22), (xviii) Stealing produce from your neighbor’s field (23:25-26), (xix) Levirate marriage and prohibition on remarrying a divorced wife who had remarried (24:4), (xx) Punishment by flogging limited to 40 strokes (25:2-3), and (xxi) Correct and fair weights of measure for merchants (25:14-16).  Throughout this week’s Parashah, these mitzvot are written as prohibitions using the imperative conjugation, the most frequently used conjugation (4,288) found in the Tanach.  These prohibitions are written using the negative particles לא and אל and the imperfect verb (יִהְיֶה).  לא expresses a permanent prohibition and אל expresses an immediate and specific prohibition.  These prohibitions were necessary because the text saysוְלֹא תַחֲטִיא אֶת-הָאָרֶץ אֲשֶׁר יְהוָֹה אֱלֹהֶיךָ נֹתֵן לְךָ נַחֲלָה meaning not bring sin on the land which the Lord your God gives you as an inheritance” (24:4).  As these scriptures state, having different weights and measures relates not only to commercial businesses but also for how we live our lives.  Do you live humble and repentant before God on one day during the week, and the rest of the week take a different standard by how you live?  Read more here.