Ki Tetze: Chapter 1

He who brings out an evil name


The Faithful Shepherd begins Ki Tetze by talking about people who defame someone's character, and how they must be punished. He refers in this context to a person who defames a virgin of Yisrael, to the spies who went out and gave false reports about the land they saw, and to Esther, who was worthy of the Holy Spirit. He says that those who know only the surface or revealed interpretation of the Torah know nothing of its mysteries; they are poor in knowledge and are referred to as riding upon an donkey. They are from the aspect of the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil. Moses talks about the mystery of Esther and her relationship with the Shechinah who gives a person many special attributes. Esther was protected from Ahasuerus just like Sarai was protected from the Pharaoh. The Faithful Shepherd returns to the issue of defamation, and says that those who speak ill of the Shechinah will be stricken in their souls. He talks about the righteous man with whom things do not go well, and the evil man with whom they do. We learn that when the Torah was given, the first tablets that were broken were comparable to virginity in that they testified to the whole Torah; the Torah's groom, Moses, broke her virginity. Next Elijah and all the heads of the Yeshivah bless the Faithful Shepherd. Elijah speaks to Moses about his role and the role of Abraham in relationship to Malchut; he says that Moses spoke out against Yisrael when they made the golden calf and thus he defamed Malchut.