The first three Aliyot of Parshat Ki Tetzei may seem disconnected rom one another. The first deals with how to treat captives in war, especially women. The second addresses inheritance-what does a man do if he has one wife he hates and another he loves? How should we treat the children of those two unions? And the third Aliyah speaks about how to handle a disobedient child- here we know that the punishment is pretty severe.
So, we have the beautiful captive taken in war. The idea that we should treat our children fairly, and not favor one over the other, even if we prefer one mother over the other. And the risks of disobedient children.
But we can make an argument that these three ideas are deeply connected. If we marry a captive woman because she is so beautiful, that beauty will fade over time. And when that happens-because the love was conditional- we begin to hate her. And we then see the children of that marriage as hated as well. If we have a second wife that we truly love, we may favor HER children. And the unloved children- knowing that they are unloved (because children always know these things) rebel. Think about the jealousy and rivalry that Jacob’s preference for Joseph had on his remaining children. When there is such resentment and envy, disobedience follows. Sometimes with disastrous consequences.
So the connection among these three sections is quite powerful. What might have seemed disconnected at first glance is actually profoundly connected.
Shabbat Shalom שבת שלום.
Rabbi David Grossman