Parshas Ki Seitzei
Deuteronomy 21:10 - 25:19
Fatal Attraction: Falling In Love... ©
By Dr. Akiva G. Belk

This study of the weekly parsha is dedicated in the loving memory of Mr. Gary Lee Belk and Mr. Donald Wayne Belk, may they rest in peace.

The month of Elul is known as the month of love because the first Hebrew letters of the words Ah Nee - Li Doh Dee - Vi Doh Dee - Lee meaning, "I am my beloved's and my beloved is mine." {Song of Solomon 6:3} form the acrostic for the Hebrew month Elul. Many marriages take place during this month which leads up to Rosh HaShanah and Yom Kippur.

Notice that every other word of Ah Nee - Li Doh Dee - Vi Doh Dee - Lee is black and purple. Notice the bold letters. They form the acrostic Elul.

Ah Nee - Li Doh Dee - Vi Doh Dee - Lee
From Right to left:
Yud Lamid - Yud Dalet Vav Dalet Vav - Yud Dalet Vav Dalet Lamid - Yud Nun Aleph

From Right to left:
Lamid Vav Lamid Aleph

Now, holy reader, the month of love ends on the last day of Elul which ushers in Rosh Ha Shanah. Marriages cease between Rosh Ha Shanah and Yom Kippur. These ten days between Rosh Ha Shanah and Yom Kippur are a period of mourning for our sins, known as the Ten Days of Repentance. Our focus is on repentance NOT MARRIAGE!

This year, the new year, 5761, Rosh Ha Shanah... begins on Shabbos. Jews DO NOT WED ON SHABBOS! Shabbos is a holy day! Shabbos is a day of rest! Shabbos is not a day for driving, for picture taking, for music, for opening gifts, etc.

Few people outside of Judaism know this. Many Jews don't know this... Some don't care. Some Jews are so distant from their religion that they neither know nor understand the significance of Rosh Ha Shanah and Shabbos. The following story depicts such an instance.

This past summer I worked with a young lady and a young gentleman who are getting married on September 30, 2000, Rosh Ha Shanah and Shabbos. One day I was speaking with the young lady who we will call Judy. She stated that she was getting married on Saturday, September 30th.

I commented, "Rosh HaShanah."

Judy said, "Yes. I'm half Jewish." She then explained that her mother was Jewish... She also explained that when they picked the day they were to be married she did not know it was Rosh HaShanah even though she expressed pleasure that it was the Jewish New Year.

This caused me to think back to the time of my first marriage, Friday evening {Erev Shabbos} on the 8th of Av.

Then I thought to my present marriage which was on 13 Sivan where my spouse and I carefully consulted with several rabbium regarding the date and the appropriateness of the date. Thank G-d! Shuvah {Repentance} brings many good changes to one's approach to life.

Now, holy reader, it was clear after a few minutes of discussion with Judy that she thought her choice of Saturday, September 30th was more enhanced because it was also Rosh HaShanah. NOTHING COULD BE FURTHER FROM THE TRUTH!

Judy is obviously not a learned Jew! She is not a practicing Jew. She was raised assimilated by her Jewish mother and non-Jewish father. As a result her choice of Shabbos and Rosh HaShanah should NOT come as a surprise. In addition she is marrying a young engineer who is not Jewish. We will call him Stan.

Judy and Stan met at work in a resort town outside of Denver. Judy hosts tours for a historic museum along the railroad site where Stan is an old time railroad engineer. As his train would arrive in the station Judy would come to meet him. He would announce over the train's P.A. system to all the passengers that she was his beautiful bride to be. He would step onto the platform. They would immediately embrace with an enormous hug and a shmoochie kiss as a public display of their affection. They would hold hands then he would get back on the train and toot off. She would go to work joyfully hosting her tours. Their display of affection is the world's definition of "FALLING IN LOVE," the prototype of two young people who give the appearance that they have fallen in love.

They are going to be married - G-d forbid! - in a small town building that was once a Catholic Church and stand under what Stan calls "that thing" {a Jewish Chupah, which often is the groom's tallis, prayer shawl}. Then according to Stan he is excited because he will break the champagne glass... They both think that is neat...

Dear reader, this is a tragic mistake! The relationship between Judy and Stan is doomed to failure before it begins. THEY ARE NOT Berschert, {G-d's appointed soul mates}. At JewishPath we frequently receive correspondence from readers who have made similar poor choices. It is stunning... it is shocking to one day wake up to the fact that your spouse is NOT YOUR SOUL MATE!

Judy and Stan are building their relationship on DESIRE! Stan desires Judy! Judy desires Stan! There is little more to it than desire! They are emotionally attracted to each other. They are sexually attracted to each other.

In this week's parsha, the Torah clearly teaches that desire / attraction has to be removed from those seeking to marry. Marriage must have a much stronger foundation than attraction. The parsha states, "If you should go to war against your enemies and Hashem, your G-d, puts them in your hand, and you capture prisoners from them; and you see among the prisoners a beautifully shaped woman. If you desire her, you may take her as your wife. {This is the procedure you are to follow under such circumstances.} You will bring her into your house and she will shave her head and allow her nails to grow. She must discard her prisoner's garb from upon her, {the attractive garb she wore when captured} and she will remain in your home and weep for her father and her mother thirty days; and afterwards {after mourning and after learning Torah observance} you may come to her and consummate with her, and she will become your wife. But it shall come to pass, that if you do not desire her {THEN}, you will send her free..." Deuteronomy 21:10-14

In other words, take the attraction out of desire.

Shave her head.

Let her manicured nails grow long and unattended.

Remove her sexy immodest clothes. Clothe her with the clothes that a Jewish wife would wear...

Watch her mourn and cry alone in your home thirty days for her parents... Why thirty days instead of seven days? Because the mourning period for all relatives except parents ends after 30 days. There are two points to this. First, this is how and this is how long this prisoner will mourn for you when you die. Second, at the end of thirty days when she converts, if you still desire her it is at that point mourning for her parents ends. It is at that point she becomes a convert! Her parents are not her parents any longer. She rejects the ways of her parents, the beliefs of her parents and the religion of her parents. In essence she disowns her parents. At that point she stops mourning for them. They are no longer her parents.

Now after observing her... now after instructing her in Torah observance for thirty days in the confines of your home, do you still want this prisoner for your wife? The Torah position is, when clear thinking has returned to you then you will send her away free...

You have returned home... to your wife, to your children... to your relatives... to your wife's relatives.. to your community.. to responsibilities.... to your Torah study... to the influence of clear Torah thinking... You will be embarrassed by what you almost did...

As a result you must set her free, you cannot pretend that your intention was to take her as a slave...

In a proper Jewish marriage both the Chassen and the Kalah have not formally dated, held hands or embraced. Many times there only communication is by mail or phone. The important issues of Jewish life are already decided, i.e. Shabbos observance, kashrus etc. They begin their relationship with many common grounds for success. They were raised in a common environment by both sets of parents. They have been prepared from before birth for this day. IT REALLY WORKS! Divorce among observant Jews is very low thank G-d!!

Holy reader, this Torah instruction is actually teaching us to be modest, not to display our bodies, not to display our affection in public and not to be lured by fatal attractions. It is showing us how to contain our less than perfect physical desires without sinning... It is teaching us how to maintain a pure heart before Hashem by Torah observance. It teaches us that both parties need to be Torah observant before entering into marriage.

Wishing you the best,

Dr. Akiva G. Belk

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