When you go out
Isaiah 54:1-10 (or finish at 52:13)
“Love Thy Neighbor”
by Mark Huey
Ki-Teitzei is traditionally considered during the month of Elul, as one is preparing his or her heart for the Fall high holidays. It is during this forty-day season of repentance or teshuvah, which lasts from 01 Elul through the Ten Days of Awe (01-09 Tishri) preceding Yom Kippur(10 Tishri), that many of our Jewish brethren turn, or in some cases return, to the God of Israel, and review their personal relationship with Him. For a Messianic community which studies the Torah portions on a weekly basis, this is a good example to follow. In some respects, this forty-day period is almost like an annual inspection of one’s soul to determine where a person stands in his or her relationship not only with the Almighty, but with one’s fellow human beings.
The Book of Deuteronomy is an important review of the Torah—and a great tool for instruction—as hearts are being prepared for not only the Day of Atonement, but also the season of joy that envelops the Feast of Tabernacles or Sukkot. While Believers in Yeshua do not necessarily approach the Fall high holidays in the same way as non-believing Jews, the fact remains that meditating upon God’s Word is of great personal benefit. The Psalms are replete with statements to this regard:
- “But his delight is in the law of the LORD, and in His law he meditates day and night” (Psalm 1:2).
- “I will meditate on Your precepts and regard Your ways” (Psalm 119:15).
- “And I shall lift up my hands to Your commandments, which I love; and I will meditate on Your statutes” (Psalm 119:48).
Last week in Shoftim (Deuteronomy 16:18-21:9), the text dealt with the theme of justice in national civil matters, as instruction for judges, kings, priests, and prophets was described. This week, Ki-Teitzei deals primarily with matters that pertain to individuals, their families, and their neighbors on a more personal level.
As you read through these chapters of Deuteronomy in Ki-Teitzei (Deuteronomy 21:10-25:19), you are confronted with a wide array of instructions, including but not limited to: family laws, laws of kindness, laws about the holiness of the camp, how to handle fugitive slaves, laws prohibiting prostitution, interest on money lent, vows,gleaning in neighbors’ fields, divorce, pledges, treatment of workers, individual responsibility, avoiding injustice to the stranger, instructions relating to orphans and widows, judgments short of capital punishment, kindness to animals, the laws of levirate marriage (for a deceased brother), flagrant immodesty, honest weights and measures, and finally remembering Amalek.
This is a wide breadth of topics to consider. I would encourage you to take the time to read and consider these passages, because these commandments have helped to inform and guide many of the civil codes and social structures founded in the Judeo-Christian world. While there is a diversity of instructions witnessed in Ki-Teitzei, the overall theme we witness focuses on how one should handle affairs between people from all walks of life, namely, one’s family and neighbors. Where the emphasis appears on how to love God, these commandments give us a clearer understanding about how we are to love our neighbors.
Consider the question of the lawyer or Torah teacher to Yeshua, asking for His opinion about the greatest commandment: (Click to Site)