Friday, September 12, 2008

Parshat Ki Tetzei, a small D'var Torah

Here’s an interesting post I read online...

The Parsha of Ben Sorer U’moreh, which we just read, is quite bizarre however you slice it. It is no wonder that Chazal essentially expound it out of existence, including among other hopeless requirements that the parents suffer no physical disabilities and (according to Rabbi Yehudah) even have identical voices. A careful reading of the P'sukim and the Gemara in the eighth Perek of Sanhedrin suggests that this Parsha is not, as is commonly thought, about the young delinquent at all. It’s about the parents.

The parents are the actors in the story. They drag their son off to the Bet din and announce that they’ve given up on him and are handing him over to the court to deal with him. The Bet Din’s response is a rebuke to the parents. The court tells the parents, “Don’t count on us to raise your kid for you. If you’ve given up on him, we’ll just have to kill him.” It’s a rhetorical flourish and the gemara makes sure that it isn’t taken literally. In fact, some of the requirements listed in the gemara add to the message. We say to these parents, “So you’ve given up on your kid, have you? Let’s see how perfect you two are before we lay this mess on him. And did you as parents speak with a single voice?”

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