Unless otherwise noted, "This week's Parsha" comprises articles taken from contributors to the Chabad.org website. We show the original author's name here, so that proper attribution is given. For the sake of brevity, footnotes cited in the original author's writings are omitted from this website. If you need to see the citations, please refer to the original articles on the Chabad.org website.
Letting Go of Hate
Darkness cannot drive out darkness: only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that. Hate multiplies hate, violence multiplies violence, and toughness multiplies toughness . . .
Martin Luther King
I imagine one of the reasons people cling to their hates so stubbornly is because they sense, once hate is gone, they will be forced to deal with pain.
James Arthur Baldwin
There is a verse in Ki Teitzei momentous in its implications. It is easy to miss, appearing as it does in the midst of a series of miscellaneous laws about inheritance, rebellious sons, overladen oxen, marriage violations and escaping slaves. Without any special emphasis or preamble, Moses delivers a command so counter-intuitive that we have to read it twice to make sure we have heard it correctly:
The Human Traffic Sign
I saw him this past spring as I was walking to the synagogue on a hot Shabbat morning in Los Angeles. He was standing at the entrance of a strip mall that I was passing, his front and back covered by identical, cumbersome cardboard signs advertising an absolutely fantabulous sale by one of the stores in the mall. He was still there a few hours later when I returned from the synagogue, several empty water bottles lying at his feet.
It got me thinking. Even if this person was being paid only minimum wage, it would almost certainly be more economical for the store owner to go to Staples and order a standard print sign. Why the need for the human advertisement?
Why the Soul Loves the Body
Body and soul are opposites. The soul wants nothing more than to escape heavenward, to leave its existence in this world and reunite with its Infinite Source. The body, on the other hand, seeks to experience an earthly life full of earthly pleasures. The body is not interested in abstract spiritual concepts. The body craves instant, tangible gratification.
How then do the body and soul unite so smoothly to become the human being? Why is the soul not at war with the body's gravitational pull? Why does the soul not escape the confines of the body?