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Parshat Devarim Ki Teitzei

Deuteronomy 21.10 - 25.19

Time And Gematria:

Unique Mentions Of Time In The Torah

Lesson Six


By Dr. Akiva Gamliel Belk

Dean of Jewish Studies

B'nai Noach Torah Institute, LLC

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Dr. Akiva Gamliel and Rebbetzin Revi Belk

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Dear Ones

This week in our Parshat, We have many references to time. The references to time in this week's Parshat Are unique in this instance. Words that we commonly associate with Time like day, week, month and year are not frequently used in this weeks Parshat. Instead, Time is mentioned in other ways. For example Deuteronomy 21.10 - 11.

Deuteronomy 21.10 - 11

When you go forth to war against your enemies, and the Lord, your God, has delivered them into your hands, and you have taken them captive, 

And see among the captives a beautiful woman, and desire her, that you would have her as your wife; Then you shall bring her home to your house; and she shall shave her head, and pare everything from Aleph to Tav of her nails; And she must discard her prison garb from upon her, and shall remain in your house, and bewail everything from Aleph to Tav of her father and everything from Aleph to Tav of her mother for A Month of Days; and after that you shall go into her, and be her husband, and she shall be your wife.

'When you go forth to war against your enemies' Speaks of the time. We don't know specifically when that time will be at this minute. This time is not defined like The Sabbath, The Seventh Day. This time is not defined like Passover we know when Passover comes. This time is not defined like Rosh Hashanah or Yom Kippur. We know when Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur come. This time as defined by The Words 'when you go forth to war against your enemies. The time that The Torah is speaking about does not begin until specifically then. This is one of those unique times that we are discussing in this weeks Parshat.

The second part to time in this Verses after the Lord your God has delivered our enemies into our hands. The first time as we go to war. The second time is after were successful in the war and our enemies are defeated. The third time is when we take them captive. The fourth time is when we see a beautiful woman and desire her as a wife. The fifth time is when one brings this beautiful Captive woman to one's home, and she shaves her head until she's completely bald. Then she pairs for nails. Then she changes garments. She removes her garments of captivity. The sixth time is the 30 days of morning for her mother and father. After all six of these times are completed then at that point that the seventh time begins. The individual that desires her can marry her. The Torah mentions seven different times with only one direct reference to a time, i.e. 'A Month of Days.' 

A portion of our discussion regarding 'A Month of Days' must form around the words אֵשֶׁת יְפַת־תֹּאַר Ay Shet - Yih Paht - Toh Ahr - meaning A Woman who is beautiful, who is of appropriate form. Another meaning may also be 'a beautiful woman who is shapely apportioned'. Those that believe this is the correct interpretation suggest The Torah is trying to bring the soldier to his senses by having this beautiful woman mourn for her Father and Mother in his home for 30 days and by having her shave her head and cut her nails. The intent, they say is to make this beautiful woman appear unattractive and unappealing. Rabbi Nosson Scherman, The Stone Edition The Chumash (Mesorah Publications, Ltd., Brooklyn, N.Y. 1993), p. 1046

I feel that the first definition is accurate For several reasons. The only place in The Torah that the words The Words יֶרַח יָמִים Yeh Tah Ach Yaw Meem / A Month of Days appear is in Deuteronomy 21.13. Therefore, we recognize these words carry a special meaning and intention. Our duty is to understand the intention.

We must look behind the scenes to see what's there. When Ha Torah says, 'A Month of Days' It may appear like this is in reference to any month in the lunar cycle of either 29 or 30 days. However, our Sages Teach this is specifically in reference to The Month of Elul. During the month of Elul, we blow the shofar each day except for Shabbat. When the month of the Elul concludes, we celebrate Rosh Hashanah, The Day of the Shofar blowing, the day of judgment and the birthday of the world. Rabbi Menachem M. Schneerson, Torah Chumash Devarim Kehot Publication Society (Brooklyn, NY 2011) p 125

Normally one begins morning on the day of death. However, here it appears to be different. The Words יֶרַח יָמִים Yeh Tah Ach Yaw Meem / A Month of Days may be interpreted as 'A Moon of Days'. Also, we need to keep in mind that the captive woman is not Jewish. Therefore, she will need to convert before the soldier can marry her. No matter how much the soldier desires her, he may not force her to convert. The Beautiful woman must choose to convert to Judaism on her own. 

The conversion process for the beautiful woman is timely. The beautiful woman must be taught all 613 Mitzvot of The Torah. She must understand. She must except them and practice them. This takes time. Observant conversions normally require a minimum of one year. 

Rabbi Ellie Monk writes in The Call Of The Torah that the soldier is Spiritually perceptive. He is not lustful! He sees a beautiful woman. What is it that he sees? He sees the soul of this beautiful woman. She is beautiful because of her spiritual relationship to the Lord. Therefore, he takes her to provide her soul the opportunity to observe all 613 mitzvot of Ha Torah as a convert. He takes a position formed by Ohr HaChaim and other Kabbalists. Rabbi Eli Munk, Call of the Torah, The Artscroll Mesorah Series, (Brooklyn, New York: Mesorah Publications, Ltd. 3rd Impression, 1994), pp 215 - 216

The Torah requires that the beautiful woman cut her hair. This is symbolic of removing her former intellect. As she learns The Torah and her hair begins to grow again she takes on a new intellect of one that is Torah observant. 

The Torah requires that the beautiful woman cut her nails. This is symbolic of removing superfluous emotional indulgences. Rabbi Menachem M. Schneerson, Torah Chumash Devarim Kehot Publication Society (Brooklyn, NY 2011) p 125 also cutting one's nails is in preparation for the Mikvah Conversion. Why? The entire body must be entirely immersed in a fresh flowing body of water. This is symbolic of cleansing oneself of the past.

Mystically there is a connection between 'A Month of Days' and dwelling. Remember how our discussion begin. 'When you go to war against your enemies.' The beautiful woman is from among the enemies of The Lord God and The People of Israel. The soldier has taken his enemy captive. Normally enemies of war are in prison camps. So why does The Torah say 'You won't bring her into your home?.' We teach their home is a sacred place where Taurus sayings are taught. Wouldn't this perhaps be disruptive to the home atmosphere and the learning out Torah? One can not tolerate disruptive behavior in their home especially during the month Elul! So we know there has to be more to what the Torah is telling us here. I believe The Torah is informing us that the soldier has removed this beautiful lady from the negative and harmful environment and in turn has placed her in an environment of Spirituality and Torah Observances. In other words, she used to dwell in a bad environment and now she dwells in A Torah observant environment. This dwelling is for 'A Moon of Days' or 'A Month of Days.' Often when the Word יָמִים Yah Meem is used this is reference to a year. Remember in Chapter One where we discussed יָמִים Yah Meem in Deuteronomy 1.46 and 2.1? 

The point is that we know conversation requires at least a year. We also know that  יָמִים Yah Meem is used in reference to Years. The righteous soldier takes the beautiful woman to his home to learn and observe Torah for a year. During this time, she is dwelling in his home. However, the intent is that she is dwelling in Torah learning and observance.

יֶרַח יָמִים

Yeh Tah Ach Yaw Meem / A Month of Days

י10 ר200 חי10 מ40 י10 ם40 = 318


Yoh Shayv / To Dwell

י10 וש300 ב2 = 318

Remember, The normal. For mourning is Seven Days. When the Torah Says,  יָמִים Yah Meem 'A Moon of Days' or 'A Month of Days', We understand there is an intended meaning that we must search for. It is clear! This is not the normal type of mourning. This is a different type of mourning. As noted earlier, the period for mourning her father and her mother in this situation is during the month of Elul. The beautiful woman has concluded her year of Torah learning and is preparing to convert. The last stage of her preparation is to mourn the month of Elul for her father and her mother. Then on the eve of the birthday of the world, on the day of judgment, on The Day of Remembering and on the day we blow the shofar the beautiful woman completes her conversion by going to the mikvah and immerses herself thus completing the conversion process. She is now available to her husband. 

What does The Torah Say about Sarah, Rachel, and Hannah? 'On The New Year Sarah, Rachel and Hannah were visited,' i.e. they conceived.' Think about what this means. Rosh Hashanah is this incredibly Holy Day. Rosh Hashanah is also a date for physical relations with ones spouse. It is on this day that soldier and the beautiful woman consummate their marriage.

Deuteronomy 21.18 - 21

If a man has a stubborn and rebellious son, who will not obey the voice of his father, or the voice of his mother, and who, when they have chastened him, will not listen to them; Then shall his father and his mother lay hold of him, and bring him out to the elders of his city, and to the gate of his place; And they shall say to the elders of his city, This our son is stubborn and rebellious, he will not obey our voice; he is a glutton and a drunkard. And all the men of his city shall stone him with stones that he dies; so shall you put evil away from among you; and all Israel shall hear, and fear.

We have another example of time not being mentioned in verses 18 through 21. The first mention of time is 'if a man has a stubborn son.' The second dimension of time is 'if a man has a rebellious son.' The third dimension of time is when the son refuses to 'obey the voice of his father'. The fourth dimension of time is when the son refuses to 'obey the voice of his mother.' 

Somewhere in the midst of these times are two other times. There are the times when the son is gluttonous. There is the time when the son is a drunkard. How many times does it take For one to be gluttonous? How make times doesn't take for one to be a drunkard? These times are evidence. But we cannot say how many times each represent. It takes to determine when one is gluttonous and Time to become a drunkard.

The next dimension of time is when each of these times has been repeated multiple times. Then the next Time is when the father and the mother take hold of their son and bring him to the elders of the city at the gate place. There has to be a determination. The son has to be found guilty. There have to be witnesses. Finally, After all of these Times are completed The final Time comes where the son is stoned to death, and he dies.

Deuteronomy 21.22 - 23

And if a man has committed a sin deserving death, and he is to be put to death, and you hang him on a tree; 23  His body shall not remain all night upon the tree, but you shall bury him that day; for he who is hanged is accursed by God; that your land, which the Lord your God gives you for an inheritance, be not defiled.

At the conclusion of Chapter 21, Scripture speaks of a time when a man has committed a capital offense that deserves death. Then scripture speaks of the Time after he has been put to death. Scripture is speaking to the time when his body is hanging on a wooden tree. There are some times indicators in the above examples where Scripture is speaking of definite times. Scripture concludes this observance by giving us a definite reference to time, 'you are to bury him that day.' 

Within this Parshat, there are many examples of time observances. They don't stand out because keywords noting times are not used. Each of these is times.

Deuteronomy 24.16

When you lend your brother anything, you shall not go into his house to fetch his pledge. You shall stand outside, and the man to whom you lend shall bring out the pledge outside to you. And if the man is poor, you shall not sleep in his pledge; You shall deliver him the pledge back when the sun goes down, that he may sleep in his garment, and bless you; and it shall be righteousness to you before the Lord your God. 


Here are five questions for reflection. Those seeking course credit please post the answers or send answers to - SUBJECT BOX - Pasted ONLY these words in the subject box.

1. What is the normal period for mourning the loss of a loved one?

2. What is the Time The Torah Requires the beautiful woman to mourn for her Father and Mother?

3. When the beautiful woman cuts her hair and nails what do these actions symbolize?

4. Explain what is meant by writing, 'Words that we commonly associate with Time like day, week, month and year are not frequently used in this weeks Parshat.'

5. What is the minimum Time required for an Observant conversion?

ב ' ח

Bereisheit Limood Chapter 23

Genesis 23.1 - 20

Bereisheit Limood Video

Chayei Sarah's Death - 23

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By Dr. Akiva Gamliel Belk

Dean of Jewish Studies

B'nai Noach Torah Institute, LLC

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Genesis 23

Chayei Sarah's Death

Our Sages Teach that Sarah died when she was informed that Abraham Sacrificed her son Isaac. Rabbi Meir Zlotowitz and Rabbi Nosson Scherman, The Artscroll Tanach Series - Bereishis Vol. I(a) (Brooklyn, New York: Mesorah Publications, Ltd. 3rd Impression, 1989), p 861

Sarah died from the shock that Abraham offered her only child as a sacrifice. How could he do this? Why would he do such a thing? Sarah died without knowing Isaac was saved by a Messenger of The Lord. Sarah died without seeing Isaac marry. Sarah died thinking her life had been for not. Sarah did not meet Rivkah her daughter-in-law to be. Sarah did not have the privilege of dancing at Isaac's wedding. Sarah did not enjoy her grandchildren. Sarah died at the age of 127 years. She did not live to realize the fulfillment of many of her dreams.  This is how death is. When one dies one cannot complete their plans.

My Mother of blessed memory realized a short time before she died that she would not live to see the fulfillment of all her dreams. We spoke shortly before Momma entered eternity. Mother shared with me somewhat like Jacob shared with his sons before he entered the next life. Momma was busy about setting everything right. She wrote letters. She asked forgiveness of any individual she perhaps may have hurt. At that time, in my eyes she went way overboard to make sure her slate was very clean. My Mother was a very Holy Woman. She would grieve over her mistakes like few I have known. Mother took living righteously very seriously. Mother had an awareness she would soon be entering the next life soon. She checked and rechecked. She reviewed and reviewed her past. She wanted to enter the next life entirely righteous before her Maker. Many have been taken into the next life without notice. Many did not have the opportunity Momma had.

The other day I was speaking with a friend who works at a Senior's Center. She was sharing with me and another individual of folks who left home in the morning and did not return. Their life was snuffed out by...

So we are discussing death, yet our focus is on what Sarah went through to have this miracle baby, Issac that she only enjoyed for 37 years. In Chapter 21 we read of The Lord God Giving Abraham the promise of a son. We read that his names was to be Yitzchok, Isaac. 

We read that The Lord God would continue the Covenant of Abraham with his son Isaac.  So if you are Sarah and you just received really bad news, Isaac was sacrificed. How would you feel? What would run through your mind? Would you be angry with Abraham? Would you also be angry with The Lord God for giving you a precious child then taking him away? What about the covenant Promised by The Lord God? Would you question, what happened to the promise that Isaac would receive the Covenant of Abraham? How would that happen now? Sarah experienced being the captive of two very powerful men, the king of Egypt and the king of Gerar. She was the good wife. She left here family behind. She traveled with Abraham. She gave Hagar to Abraham to have a son by her because up until then she was ninety, she could not have children. Then after Isaac was born and grew Yishmael and Isaac were seen in a field quarreling over who should receive the double portion set aside for the firstborn. Ishmael was the firstborn of Hagar. Isaac was the firstborn of Sarah. Yishmael made sport of Isaac by shooting arrows around him. This is when Sarah informed Abraham that the son of the slave woman would not inherit with her son Isaac. This is when Yishmael and Hagar were sent out by Abraham in Genesis 21.9 - 14. Rabbi Avrohom Davis, The Mesudah Chumash A New Linear Translation Bereishis (Hoboken New Jersey, KTVA Publishing House, Inc., 1991) p 220

We see how Sarah kept a close eye on her son. We see that Sarah was protective of her only son, her hope of the future. Then this happens. Abraham takes Isaac to Mount Moriah to offer as a sacrifice. Hearing the lie that Isaac was dead was an awful blow. She was so devastated that she died upon hearing this awful news...

One morning many years ago on September 2nd I came downstairs from my bedroom to the kitchen on the main floor for breakfast. My Mother was crying. I was young and felt so sad to see my Mother crying. I inquired. What is a matter? My mother said today is your brother Donald Wayne's birthday. There was no comforting my Mother. My Brother, Donald Wayne passed away at the age of 2 months and 17 days old on December 2nd 1938. He died from pneumonia. May he rest in peace. Each February 21st my mother would cry for my brother Gary Lee may he rest in peace.  Seeing my Momma cry and hurt so much at such a young age was very difficult. Mother ALWAYS remembered the birth dates and Yahrzites / Death Anniversary of my brothers. It was always painful and tearful. There was no relief for my Mother on these days. My Father, may he rest in peace moved on. He could not understand my Mother mourning the deaths of her two sons. Revi mourns the death of her daughter Carrie, may she rest in peace. And like my Mother, several days leading up to Carrie's death Revi cries. Like my Mother Revi cannot be comforted. Revi has shared with me the connection she felt with her children from conception. A Mother feels the baby move, sleep and kick inside her. A mother feels the birth and feeding pains. Can we imagine what it is like for a mother whose children die before them? Can we imagine the hurt and suffering and tears? 

Our Matriarch Sarah went through so much to get to the  birth of Isaac that the news of his death, even though it was a lie, killed her. Sarah's heart broke in two. She died. Sarah lived a life of Holiness. She was prepared to enter the next life when called home. Yet, that does not mean Sarah wanted to leave Abraham and Isaac. Death is sad. Death does bring sadness. I look at my Mother as a lady like Sarah.


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