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Parashat Ki Teitzei - 5777

Dear friends,

The portion of Ki Teitzei is filled with many commandments - so many that it's as if each verse is a Mitzvah of do or don't. It covers family life, rules of engagement, how to treat the poor, the widow, the orphan and the stranger, honesty in business, the laws of the levirate and many more. The Parasha concludes with the commandment of remembering the enemy Amalek.

One of the mitzvot the Torah emphasizes in this parasha is the Mitzvah of returning a lost object to its rightful owner:

"If you see your fellow's ox or sheep gone astray, do not ignore it. You must take it back to your fellow. If your fellow does not live near you or you do not know who he is, you shall bring it home and it shall remain with you until your fellow claims it, then you shall give it back to him." (Deuteronomy 22:1-2)

The Talmud dedicates many chapters on this Mitzvah - when you must return a lost object and when you may keep it. There is a strong emphasis on the idea that you really cannot keep anything you find, unless you are certain that the owner has given up on finding it and that, therefore, it does not belong to anyone. If the Torah cares so much about a person's property, how much more so when one deals with a human life. Everyone of us at some stage in life comes across a person who might be lost and in need of guidance. Do we give up easily or do we try our best to help that soul find its way back to a good place? If that person is lacking shelter and basic needs, what do we do to help that person get back on his/her feet through acts of kindness?

In addition to the ongoing needs to help the less fortunate in our community, Hurricane Harvey has caused terrible losses of life and destruction of homes to so many in America. Many have lost their shelters and the most basic needs for survival.

The Mitzvah of Tzedaka is repeated in various forms and under different situations. As you study this week's Parasha, fulfill some of those commandments by helping those who have thru no fault of their own become lost and in need of our support.

Shabbat Shalom,