This week’s Torah portion, Parsha Ki Teitzei, begins with three short sections on a few different commandments. The commandment discussing the execution of a rebellious son seems to be very confusing. The Torah states that if a boy is gluttonous, defies his parents, and steals food and wine, he should be brought to the elders of the city and be executed. Many commentaries provide insight into this strange procedure, but later state that this situation “has never existed and will never exist.” If such a child could never exist, why is this section included in the Torah at all?
Parsha Ki Teitzei is always read in the month of Elul. This month is referred to as the month of atonement, because it leads into the High Holidays of Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur. The story of the rebellious son, despite never existing, is included in the Torah to fill the Jewish People with hope. If such a child must meet specific requirements to be considered a rebellious son and be put to death, the majority of people who have not sinned on that level do not need to be worried about being punished with death. As long as we, as members of the Jewish community, behave properly, we will never be punished with death, the fate of the rebellious son. As we prepare for our divine judgement to pass, may we all be written and inscribed for good in the year to come.
By: Yosef Fruhman (9th Grade)