Wednesday, September 17, 2008

TBE Bar/ Bat Mitzvah Commentary: Ariel Kobliner on Parashat Ki Tetze

My portion contains many different laws, and most of them teach us how important it is to not be indifferent – to care about others. I always try to be a caring person, and sometimes my friends come to me for advice. So I decided to make and advice column… so welcome to “Ask Ari!”

As you can see, I’ve already received a number of letters asking for advice, so let’s start!

(letter #1)
Dear Ari,
I have a friend that I have sort of grown apart from. She likes to gossip about my other friends and I find that annoying. I don’t know if I should drop her as a friend. What should I do?
Confused Friend

Ooh, that’s a good one.

Dear Confused,
In the portion Ki Tetze there are laws about marriage and divorce. One law states that that if two people are married and the wife falls out of favor and the man wishes to divorce her, the man should let her go with kindness so she can maintain her dignity. I know you’re not married to your friend, but the same principle applies in your situation. Instead of being mean and saying you never want to be friends again, just tell her that you need a little space. This way you will be happier, and maybe she’ll begin to understand what she did wrong.

Letter Number Two

Dear Ari,
When I was walking down the street I saw a dog on the side of the road. I noticed that it was the dog of someone who had been mean to me in the past. Should I tell her where I saw it – or should I just forget about it?
Doggie Dilemma

Doggone it, that’s a good question.

Dear Doggie,
In the portion Ki Tetze, the Torah says that if you find someone else’s possession, whether it be a friend’s or an enemy’s, you must return it. Although you might not want to do something nice for this girl, it is a mitzvah. Also in the same portion, the Torah says to be kind to animals. So this is another reason to return the dog. Maybe if you give back the dog your enemy will become your friend!
- Ari

Another letter! Who do these people think I am – Doctor Phil?
And here is one more:

Dear Ari,
I was sitting inside the classroom and I saw that someone had left a jacket. It was a really nice North Face jacket and I put it my locker because I didn’t know what to do with it. Should I return it or should I do what I want and keep it?
Finder’s Keeper’s

Dear Finders,
You should put the jacket in the lost and found or give it to a teacher. In the portion Ki Tetze the Torah advises that if you find a lost item you must return it. As desirable as it might be, the jacket isn’t yours so you should not keep it. Think about how you would feel of someone found your jacket and didn’t give it back!
- Ari

As you can see from these letters, a very important idea here is that we should not be indifferent. One way which I demonstrate my caring is through my mitzvah project. As many of you know, I was born two months premature, so I have a special concern for those who are in a similar situation. For my mitzvah project, I’ve been volunteering for the Tiny Miracles Foundation, which assists families with premature babies. I volunteered in the office, and next week, I am working at a carnival to raise money. Please come.

So that’s all we have for today. If you need any advice, just send your letters or emails to Ask Ari at

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