Student Teaching in the New Millenium

Who is the wife? (5771 Ki Thavo)

In Deuteronomy on September 18, 2011 at 2:17 pm

You joined the Air Force?
What were you thinking?! Here now,
A pot for each day.

Isaiah 60:1-22
Deuteronomy 26:1-29:8

Following the instructions of offering the first fruits and the tithe, we come to the conclusion of the narrative started in parsha Re’eh, where the blessings said towards Mt. Gerizim, and the curses said towards Mt. Ebal are explicitly described. There are 27 blessings to over 50 curses, counted thematically, before 28:45 alone. More follow.

This parsha reminds me of my mother’s cousin Joe. He joined the Air Force without telling his wife beforehand, and came home in uniform to announce the news. His wife took one look at him before unloading the entire kitchen pantry at him and screaming a lot. He must have been military material: we still don’t know how he survived.

Does this parsha sound like a wife throwing dishes to anyone else?

I bring this up because, in the previous parsha Ki Teitzei, we begin with the discussion of how to wed a woman of pleasing form (21:11) captured during a war. What to do and what not to do.

This brings to mind the fact that God is not the native deity of the Israelites. Depending on the translation, my father was a wandering Aramean (26:5). The relationship between God and the Israelites of the Exodus was established in war time, defeating the Egyptians in pursuit at the Red Sea, and written in blood, fire and words at Sinai. The relationship between God and the present Israelites was established in war time, defeating Og, Bashan, and the Moabites and Midianites responsible for the seduction, and further expounded on the steppes of Moab looking westerly towards Eretz Yisrael.

The treatment of the captive woman includes a month-long period of mourning (21:13). Would she learn about the people she was about to join, and discuss these things with the household around her? If yes, this narrative joins the narratives above in revealing the following pattern: war to learning and discussion to covenant between strangers!

Was there a woman of pleasing form wed to anyone at the wars of the Exodus and in Moab? Is God a woman of pleasing form? Is Israel?

Final question: what does this say about foreign policy?


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