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Browse Torah Articles: Sefer Devarim: Parashat Ki Tesse: The Beginnings

Contributed by: R. Ezra Mizrahi

"Rather, he must recognize the firstborn, the son of the hated one, to give him the double portion in all that is found with him; for he is his initial vigor, to him is the right of the firstborn. If a man will have a wayward and rebellious son, who does not hearken to the voice of his father and the voice ." (Devarim, 21,17-21)

The topic of a wayward son connected in the text to the topic of a firstborn as we can see above. On first glance, these two topics are seemingly independent of each other. However, we know that there are volumes of knowledge in the Torah and a reason for everything.

Rashi provides an answer as to why we have the connection of topics at the beginning of our parasha. Rashi explains that if one goes to battle and falls in lust of a woman not allowed to him (Yefat Toar), he will later marry another and this woman will be a "hated wife" ("If a man will have two wives, one beloved and one hated.."), and from her he will eventually have a son that will be a "Ben Sorer Umoreh" (wayward son).

However, there is another commonality between the two above-mentioned topics. A firstborn's power stems from his being born first. A wayward son is also judged based upon his first couple of months. If he starts to lead a life astray, doing specific things listing in the gemara, we are to kill this son, for "better he die innocent than guilty."

We can learn a lesson from this great mousar. We must be very careful at all "beginning" in our lives:
-The first months after one's Bar-Misva
-The first days of the new year
-The first couple of hours in each day

The beginning of any interval has in it the power to influence the rest of that interval. Waking in the morning for Selihot and Tefilah starts your day in the right path and leads to a better day. Beginning a new class or limoud, and be careful and caution to ensure that its establishment.

With Rosh Hashana around the corner, this is definitely a lesson that is important for us all.

Back to Sefer Devarim
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