Apples Falling Close to the Tree: Ki Tetze 2022

by Adam J. Rosenbaum

Pre-Game Chatter: Are our parents’ deeds a harbinger of our own? What about their misdeeds? What bonds do you share with your parents that you wish you didn’t?

Ultimately, the Torah tells us, each individual is responsible for his/her actions:

The Pitch: “Parents shall not be put to death for children, nor children be put to death for parents: a person shall be put to death only for his own crime.” – Deuteronomy 24:16

Swing #1: “Our Mothers Answer: Behavior modeled by parents usually repeats in the next several generations. So do parents’ beliefs, their family myths, and their emotional responses to the world. In this parasha, we’re warned not to make things worse by legislating intergenerational guilt. … We’re advised to leave such visits to God.” – Ellen Frankel, Ph.D., The Five Books of Miriam

Swing #2: “An issue of deep concern to the exiles in Babylonia, this questioning of free will is raised a number of times in the Bible. … Deuteronomy has toned this down by punishing the evildoer and not his or her children.” – Everett Fox, The Five Books of Moses

Swing #3: “In light of this a mourner reciting Kaddish for a parent should be careful to recite it with great concentration. … For perhaps the father and mother of the orphan were wicked and now their son will bring them merit. Then the one who raised him will have earned a great reward in this world and the next.” – Kav HaYashar

Late-Inning Questions: How is the passing of family traits seen as a rebuttal against free will? To what extent do people wish to escape a parent’s shadow, and to what extent do they wish to be embraced by it? Do we ever actually “turn into our parents”?

On-Deck at TBT: The start of the High Holiday season is marked most prominently by Selihot. Temple Beth Tzedek invites everyone to come to the synagogue Saturday, September 17th, for Havdallah at 8:30pm, followed by a learning session at 9:00 pm and the Selihot service at 10:00 pm.

The Big Inning at the End: Speaking of parental legacies, several years ago, local baseball fans got to see several Buffalo Bisons – Vladimir Guerrero, Jr., Bo Bichette, and Cavan Biggio – in action before they became Toronto Blue Jays, and then welcomed them back last year when fans attended some Blue Jay home games in Buffalo. These players’ fathers all made a mark in the Major Leagues, and as the next generation follows suit, Bison fans can truly say that “they knew them when”.

Shabbat Shalom!