Parshas Ki Seitzei
Deuteronomy 21:10 - 25:19

Do Not Preach Their Peace and Their Benefit ©

By Dr. Akiva G. Belk.


This study of the weekly parsha is dedicated in the loving memory of Mr. Eugene and Mrs. Selma Saunders, may they rest in peace.

In parshas Shoftim we spoke of "great righteousness pursue." This week we are saying, "Do not preach of [or pursue] their peace or benefit..." Deuteronomy 23: 7 So one week we are saying "pursue great righteousness" and the next we are saying "do not pursue their peace or benefit..." How can we speak of taking the high road one week then follow the very next week with the thoughts, "Do not pursue their peace or benefit...?" This sounds like DOUBLE TALK...

Dear reader, this instruction is the 562nd Mitzvah of Torah. "Do not preach of [or pursue] their peace or benefit..." is a Torah Mitzvah! Why? Who is the Torah directing this command towards?

If we back up a few verses we observe that the Torah is directing these comments towards offering peace in wartime to descendants of the Ammonites and the Moavites. In addition, the Torah is instructing us not to be friendly with them at any time. The Torah is saying , "...Do not seek.... Do not speak of... Do not preach... Do not pursue... THEIR GOOD at any time!" This is speaking of two descendants of Lot under the condition of "If" they provoke war with B'nei Yisroel. We are commanded by Hashem in Deuteronomy 2:9 and 2:19 not to distress them and not to provoke [war with] them. Yet here we are instructed, "Do not preach of [or pursue] their peace or benefit..." This seems a bit confusing.

One must first remember that our father Avraham pursued four kings in battle in behalf of Lot [see Genesis 14]. One would expect a certain degree of gratitude for such formidable heroism in behalf of Lot. One would expect the descendants of Lot to express gratitude for Avraham's actions.

Instead of showing gratitude the Torah states, "Because of the fact..." "It is a spoken fact..." "It is a written fact.." "Because of the word, [the spoken word, the written word, it is a fact] that they did not greet you with bread and water on your path exiting Mitzriam... because [the King of Moav] hired [the evil prophet] Bilam against curse you... Do not seek.... Do not speak of... Do not preach... Do not pursue... THEIR GOOD at any time!" Deuteronomy 23:5-7

So while we are prevented from distressing them or from provoking war with them, if they indicate war with us we are forbidden to be the first to offer peace. They MUST offer us peace. And because of their insensitive actions and their lack of actions we are NOT to seek, speak of, preach or pursue their good at any time EVER! So this is interesting. On one hand we are not to distress them. We are not to threaten them with military action. We are not to provoke them to war. Yet on the other hand, we are NOT to do anything good for them. This Torah instruction has an interesting parallel.

Chassidim, consider this: When a Jew has lived as a slave to other gods... When a Jew has served other gods... When a Jew has bowed to other gods... When a Jew has prayed to other gods... then for whatever reason that Jew experiences FREEDOM from slavery, freedom from serving, freedom from bowing and freedom from praying to these gods; and relatives of that baal teshuvah who are distant relatives or close relatives who DO NOT meet him with bread and water on his path of exit from associating with these gods, who DO NOT encourage him, who DO NOT offer sustentance to him, who DO NOT offer physical, psychological, emotional and spiritual assistance, THEN that is a fact and because of that fact one MUST not seek, speak, preach or pursue... THEIR GOOD at any time!

What are we saying here? Simply put, Hashem expects us who are free from bondage to assist those relatives who are just experiencing freedom from serving, bowing and praying to other gods. One purpose of this Torah example is to show what Hashem expects from relatives even when there is great distance between the descendants like there was between the descendants of the Ammonites and the Moavites and B'nei Yisroel.

Dear readers, it is for this reason that we at JewishPath write articles regarding Christians / Messianics. It is to offer a hand of encouragement to our fellow Jew who is exiting from serving, bowing and praying to other gods. It is to say YOU ARE MAKING THE RIGHT CHOICE! It is to say don't be intimidated! It is to say don't be afraid of their threats of hellfire! It is to say that as you study at JewishPath and other anti missionary organizations you will learn that you made the correct choice. So dear readers, the purpose of such anti missionary organizations like JewishPath is to offer bread and water to our dear brothers and sisters as they exit their former beliefs. We are here to offer them strength and encouragement that they are making the correct decision. We are here to show them why they made the correct decisions. Our way of doing this is to discuss in dozens of articles the Torah's teachings as opposed to Christian / Messianic teachings. Understanding the differences is important!

Now dear Jewish reader, be very careful with your words and actions, especially with what you do not know or understand. It is our obligation to meet our dear, very distant brothers and sisters with these words of bread and water. I cannot number the thousands of Jews who have read our articles and as a result of our articles and others like them have entered the path to observant Judaism.

So dear reader, outreach organizations like JewishPath reach out to our very distant brothers and sisters. We reach out to that flickering light within the soul, the neshama, of every Jew. Our message touches Jews who are generations removed from observance. And our message reaches out to the non-Jewish world with hope that there is something very special for them also. There is a light for non Jews. There is a path for non Jews within the pages of Torah. That light and that path is observance of the Seven Noaich commandments. That light and that path is freedom from oppression of thousands of religious teachings which differ with what G-d the Creator intended for humankind. So even though some of our messages strike hard against doctrines that differ with the Torah, our message also preaches peace. Our message offers peace to the confused souls of Jews and Non Jews who are searching for their place in this world. G-d created a special place for everyone. When we find that place which G-d has created especially for us, when we find that place which is aligned with the Torah, then we find peace, our true peace!

So non Jews as well as Jews must be standing by to reach out to their brethren who are exiting doctrines, teachings and beliefs which differ with what G-d the Creator intended for humankind. Many Jews returning to Judaism have shared their experiences with us at JewishPath. We encourage this kind of sharing to continue! We at JewishPath encourage Noaichs to share their experiences with us as well. To assist you, we at JewishPath are establishing a new web site, G-d willing. This new site is a non Jewish site that will feature articles from other non Jews who have exited religions of the world. This new site will be aligned with the Torah as G-d the Creator desires. Jews and Noaichs must be careful to offer bread and water to our brethren exiting Mitzriam!

Good Shabbos!

Dr. Akiva G. Belk


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