Parshat Ki Tetzei
This week's parsha contains 74 of the Torah's 613 commandments, some troubling from a modern perspective (how a man may ultimately marry a beautiful prisoner of war); others oddly obscure, at least on the surface (you must send away a mother bird from her nest before taking the eggs of her young). And then there are those that are obviously applicable to a moral, modern society (treating debtors with dignity; keeping your vows). Though Shabbat Mom has yet to don this beautiful pomegranate-studded Tallit (prayer shawl) bought years ago in Jerusalem (though some women choose to wear them, that is not her custom; men are required to do so), Shabbat Mom has pictured it here to represent the law about tassels called Tzitzit:
"You shall make yourself twisted threads, on the four corners of your garment with which you cover yourself...".
This is a powerful example of the strength and beauty of Jewish mindfulness, requiring us to be humbled by and aware of G-d and His laws in all ways and at all times. Ki Tetzei ends with a dramatic message about the significance of our collective Jewish memory. Though the words relate specifically to a Biblical event--the devastating attack by the Amalekites on the weakest Israelites wandering in the desert--they resonate across time in a profoundly urgent and relevant way, warning and reminding us that we must never forget our shared past. "You shall remember what Amalek did to you on the way, when you went out of Egypt...You shall not forget!"