Thursday, August 23, 2007

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It's The Law

by Reb Gutman Locks at Mystical Paths

A dvar Torah for Deuteronomy 21:10, parshat Ki Seitzei.

One of the more interesting laws given in this week portion of the Torah actually tells an entire story. The story goes: A man married two women and had sons with both of them. Then, for whatever reason, he came to hate the mother of his first-born.

There is another law that tells us that first-born sons are entitled to a double portion of their father’s estate. [i] This law is reflected in the word “first-born” (bachor) itself. In Hebrew, it is spelled bet-chof-resh. The gematria of these letters are 2 - 20 – 200. Each letter is a doubling.

Now we are learning that this man may not give the son of his beloved wife the double portion that the son of his hated wife was entitled to receive. Even though she became hated, the husband may not take away her child’s rightful inheritance.

Since God has taught us these laws in order to teach us the proper way to behave, we have to believe that He too (as if it could be) is also subject to this code of behavior. After all, often we are told to “walk in His ways.” So if we cannot demote our first-born, then neither can He. Even though the mother of the first-born lost favor in her husband’s eyes, still the husband cannot take it out on her child.

Mystically speaking, as is seen in such places as the book “The Song of Songs,” we see God likened to the “Husband of Israel.” Throughout scripture, we, Israel, are often called His first-born.

If our ancestors back in the Temple days lost favor in the eyes of their “Husband,” and if He hated them for a good reason or not, still, He is not allowed to take it out on us, the children of that hated wife. According to His own law, He must give us the double portion that His first-born is entitled to receive. Of course, this double inheritance includes good portions in this world now and in the time of the Moshiach, and in the World to Come. After all, it’s the law!

[i] Deut 21:17

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