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Parashat Ki Teitzei

This week's Parsha is Parshat Ki Teitzei. In Perek Yud Alef, Pasuk Yud, the Chumash says:

"כי תצא למלחמה על אויבך ונתנו ה' אלקיך בידך"

“When you will go out to war against your enemies, and G‑d, your G‑d, will deliver them into your hand.”

Q: When taking a closer look, it seems as though it should have said “ki tilcham im oyevecha” — “when you will be at war with your enemy”, rather than “ki teitzei lamilchamah” — “when you will go out to war”. Why would the passuk word it in that specific way?

A: As we know, this Parsha falls during the month of Elul, which is the Jewish month designated to Teshuva. It is possible that the pasuk isn’t only referring to a physical war between people, yet to an individual battle between someone’s yetzer hara and yetzer tov. We can learn from our sages (Shabbat 104a) that “haba letaheir mesai’im oto” — “the one who wants to purify himself is assisted from Heaven.”

Additionally, the Midrash Rabbah (Songs of Songs 5:2) explains that Hashem says to Bnei Yisroel, “Make a small opening (of teshuvah) like the opening of a needle, and I will open for you entrances through which caravans can pass.” While the Torah is encouraging us to do teshuvah, it is also assuring us that “ki teitzei lamilchamah” - if we will only resolve to go out and wage war “al oye vecha” - “against the enemy”, or in this case the yetzer hara, we will surely be victorious. This is because Hashem will hand him over to us and ensure that we are successful since he is ultimately on our side.

By: Miriam Cohen (10th)

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