Parashat Ki Tetse - September 2nd

כי תצא Ki Tetse

Deuteronomy 21.10—25.19

Deuteronomy 21.18-23: “If a man has a stubborn and rebellious son, who will not obey the voice of his father or the voice of his mother, and, though they chastise him, will not give heed to them, then his father and his mother shall take hold of him and bring him out to the elders of his city at the gate of the place where he lives, and they shall say to the elders of his city, ‘This our son is stubborn and rebellious, he will not obey our voice; he is a glutton and a drunkard.’ Then all the men of the city shall stone him to death with stones; so you shall purge the evil from your midst; and all Israel shall hear, and fear. And if a man has committed a crime punishable by death and he is put to death, and you hang him on a tree, his body shall not remain all night upon the tree, but you shall bury him the same day, for a hanged man is accursed by God; you shall not defile your land which the Lord your God gives you for an inheritance.”

Jesus took on himself the curse of the one who had sinned and his body hung on a tree. “Messiah redeemed us from the curse of the law, having become a curse for us—for it is written, ‘Cursed be every one who hangs on a tree’ —that in Messiah Jesus the blessing of Abraham might come upon the Gentiles, that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith.” (Gal 3.13-14).

The description “stubborn and rebellious” is applied to Israel in Jer 5.23: “This people has a stubborn and rebellious heart; they have turned aside and gone away.” Here again we see how the Messiah has taken on human sin and carried it to his redemptive death.

[RP]

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Haftarah: Isaiah 54.1-10

The haftarah is a repetition of most of the haftarah for Parashat Noah (Gen 6.9—11.32). Since Noah is mentioned in these verses, it is likely that it was originally used for Parashat Noah. So we may ask why Isa 54 is used twice. There is a long stretch of weekly portions, starting with the first portion for Deuteronomy and spreading over the new year through Genesis 17, where almost all of the prophetic readings are from the book of Isaiah. Isaiah 40 and the chapters that follow are used extensively, and Isa 49.14—55.5 are read in their entirety . . . with the exception of Isaiah 53. Is it possible that the rabbis felt it necessary to remove Isaiah 53, with its clear pointing to the sufferings of the Messiah (and so clearly fulfilled in Jesus of Nazareth) and repeat one of the passages next to it?

The haftarah from Isaiah 54 begins with an exhortation to rejoice, and we might ask what cause of rejoicing the prophet is referring to. The answer to that question takes us back into the previous verses in chapter 53, where we read about the suffering and death of the servant of the Lord. Suffering, of course, is not normally a cause for rejoicing, but the suffering described in 52.13—53.12 brought about a great redemption. The servant of the Lord, the son of David, the Messiah of Israel, took on himself the curse that rightly belonged to Israel, the rebellious son.

[RP]

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We find many symptoms of the disease of sin, for which the Torah has no cure. The case of the prodigal son, the rapist, the prostitute, etc., for these the Torah has no cure. These have to be removed from society by the punishment of death.

In the era of the Torah, it would seem, this was the best in the sphere of the law and morals that could be given to man, for the Torah was given by God, and the stamp of the justice of God, his righteousness and holi­ness was upon it. But it is impossible to escape the feeling that this was not the last word of God to man, not all that he had to reveal to us. Some­thing more was needed in order to establish God’s kingdom on this earth, in order to bring the vision of the prophets to realization: “The wolf shall dwell with the lamb, and the leopard shall lie down with the kid, and the calf and the lion and the fatling together, and a little child shall lead them. . . . They shall not hurt or destroy in all my holy mountain; for the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the Lord as the waters cover the sea.” (Isa 11.6, 9).

It seems also that those who arranged the weekly readings from the prophetic Scriptures were aware of this, as can be seen from this week’s reading from the Prophets. On the surface the haftarah apparently has no connection with the week’s reading from the Torah, unless we take into account the concept of a new revelation, greater, more comprehensive, deeper, the revelation of the grace of God. Thus the prophet Isaiah beholds by divine inspiration the bitter Diaspora—punishment for the nation’s sin—and he sees at the same time the redemptive salvation of Israel and his spiritual renewal. This renewal is not by some special act on the part of Israel, but by a great fundamen­tal act of the grace of God: “In overflowing wrath for a moment I hid my face from you, but with everlasting love I will have compassion on you, says the Lord, your Redeemer. . . . For the mountains may depart and the hills be removed, but my steadfast love (Hebrew, grace) shall not depart from you, and my covenant of peace shall not be removed, says the Lord, who has compassion on you.” (Isa 54.8, 10).

It was Jesus the Messiah who revealed to the world the grace of God: He gave a true expression of the love of God in word and deed. He revealed to man the loving heart of our Heavenly Father. He laid the foundation of the Kingdom of Heaven on the earth.

Shabbat Shalom!

[Ostrovsky, Moses on the Witness Stand, 141-142, quoted by permission of Messianic Publishing Co, a division of Messianic Literature Outreach]

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