Some things never change

War, violent teenagers, divorce, negligence, rape, mistreatment of the weaker populations, crooked courts…

These sound like the headlines of newspapers across the world today.

These relevant topics and many more are found in Parshat Ki Tetze. The parsha teaches the reality which is that all of these situations can happen and we have to be careful to prevent them. If they do happen, we must correct them and seek justice. The Torah does not mince words. These situations are out there and we need to know how to handle them.

Unfortunately, we have seen many wars since the establishment of the State of Israel and the IDF must continue on the path of being ethical despite what the rest of the world is doing. This can often be a big challenge, but our soldiers need to be taught what is right. Pre-army training programs, Mechinot, Yeshivot and Midrashot which prepare the soldiers before they enlist are often relied upon to teach the future soldiers proper ethics. These programs must be checked out to make sure that they are teaching correct values.

Over the summer, Israeli teenagers were accused of rape in Cyprus. These seventeen and eighteen year olds did not have a grasp on proper morals before setting off on their trip. I hope that these teenagers and others who have followed the story have learned from their mistakes. Rape or what may appear as rape should not be taken lightly.

The Torah was very open about divorce at a time when other cultures were not. The cases where the Rabbinate makes it difficult to carry out divorce procedures honestly and properly are very upsetting and we have to stand up for justice in order to carry out what the Torah requests of us.

The idea of negligence, especially at building sites in Israel is a big problem. This year alone, thirty two workers were killed due to negligence at building sites. We need to change the standards to ensure that this does not continue.

Often the weaker populations are mistreated as there is nobody to stand up for them. The Torah understood this and told us to specifically take care of the stranger, the orphan and the widow. We must go out of our way to make sure that they are not being abused.

The Torah is very clear about issues with crooked courts. We can’t allow twisted behavior to happen and both the religious and secular courts must be called out when they do not comply with the law.

With the elections upon us, we must follow the light of the Torah and work on correcting injustices that are taking place. Our goal should not be to separate from the Torah but rather to use the Torah’s values and true intentions as our guidebook.

About the Author
Sharona holds a BA in Judaic Studies from Stern College and an MS in Jewish Education from Azrieli Graduate School, Yeshiva University. Sharona was the first Congregational Intern and Madricha Ruchanit at the Hebrew Institute of Riverdale, NY. After making aliya in 2004, Sharona founded Torat Reva Yerushalayim, a non profit organization based in Jerusalem which provides Torah study groups for students of all ages and backgrounds.
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