KI TETZE (When You Go Out)


Deuteronomy 21:10–25:19; Isaiah 54:1–10; Luke 23:1–25; 1 Corinthians 5:1–5

“When you go out [ki tetze] to war against your enemies, and the LORD your God gives them into your hand and you take them captive …” (Deuteronomy 21:10)

Raising the Torah scroll at the Western (Wailing) Wall in Jerusalem.

Last week, Parsha Shoftim focused on the concept of judges, judgment and justice.


The title of this week’s Torah portion, Ki Tetze (when you go out) is derived from the Hebrew root word yatsa, meaning to leave, go or come out. This refers to the children of Israel who have left Egypt and now find themselves standing at the brink of entering the Promised Land in fulfillment of God’s promise.

In this Parsha, God gives the Israelites a series of laws that mostly govern civil and domestic life.

This group of laws is intended to build a just community of people who are not only concerned with their own well-being, but also with the well-being of others. God wants His people to demonstrate mercy and kindness to everyone, especially those who are powerless, helpless or oppressed.

An Israeli child embraces her grandmother.

These include female captives of war, strangers and foreigners, destitute laborers, refugee slaves, the children of an unloved wife, and the poorest of society—orphans and widows.

Israel displaying righteous conduct and showing friendship toward non-Jews is considered an act of holiness, since the goodness of the God of Israel is then revealed to the outside world.

The concept of friendship is very important in Judaism. The Hebrew word for friend, chaver, comes from the word chibbur, meaning to be attached or joined. It can also mean to be a member of a club, society or group; therefore, to become a chaver means we find a place of belonging and acceptance.

In order to translate this ideal of a caring, moral community into reality, God’s Word provides regulations for a diversity of situations—everything from the ban on cross gender dressing to respect for birds and animals.

Grandmother and granddaughter sharing a moment near the beach

Dolphin Reef in Eilat, Israel aims to deepen the relationship between
man and nature. At this unique facility, Dolphins are allowed to initiate
contact with humans.

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