Ki Tetze, 5779/2019 ~ Love Letters
Tish Talk by Rabbi Shalom Rubanowitz
Thoughts from your Rabbi for Your Shabbos Table
I’ve never been at war (we moved back from Israel when I was 14) but I’ve always been amazed at how someone falling in love with an enemy could be a serious enough reality that the Torah carved out an entire area of Halacha and code of law built around the “Yefas Toar”-the beautiful and captivating POW. What kind of person really would imagine a grand future with someone who either herself desired (or desires) to destroy you and your entire nation, or who belongs to a family, community, nation that seeks the destruction of yours? How often could that really happen?
There must be a terribly thin line between love and hate...
And then I noticed something quite Illuminating. The Hebrew word for enemy is אויב, pronounced “OYEV”. The Hebrew word for love is אוהב, pronounced OHEV. Both words are identical save for the third letter. Enemy has a יוד (YUD) for its third letter and love a ה (HEH).
Here is the amazing part:
YUD is the numerical value of 10. HEH is the numerical value of exactly half that: 5.
Need I explain more? The difference between an enemy and an ally, between hate and love is HALF of the former. The one who says “I am a 10”. I don’t need anyone, I have it all-and I want to keep it all”, giving nothing and receiving nothing, will always stand alone as the OYEV, the non-loving and the unloved. The one who on the other hand recognizes that there is no “perfect 10”, that at best we are all halves, or “5s” of each other, giving and receiving alike, complementing one another to create a “total 10” formed by
our union -- that is the one who enjoys life as an OHEV, with the capacity to indeed meet an actual enemy, yet find actual love.
On this Shabbos of “going out to war on our enemies”, we will do well to read these “love letters” and take their lesson to heart. With the help of the Almighty, as we turn our enemies into our greatest allies, we will be greeting Mashiach in no time!
Shabbat Shalom Umevorach! A beautiful and Peaceful Shabbos to All!
Shalom Rubanowitz, at the "Shul on the Beach", Venice, California. Comment to firstname.lastname@example.org YOUR FEEDBACK IS ALWAYS APPRECIATED!