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Beit Midrash Torah Portion and Tanach Ki Tetze

Forget Me Not - or Not?!

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One of my favorite, classic Torah Trivia is: What one Mitzva in the Torah cannot be fulfilled if one has intent (kavana) to do the Mitzva? The answer, as many of you know, is "shich'cha;" when a reaper forgets to cut a bundle of grain while harvesting. He may then not go back and retrieve that bundle, it is left for the poor to take. If he had left that bundle purposely for the poor, he surely performs an act of tzedaka, but it is not shich'cha.

At the end of the Sedra, we have the famous commandment to remember the villainous acts which Amalek did to us; this directive is amplified by the added directive: Do not forget!

The lesson here is that while there are certainly things which we must always remember and never forget, there are other things that we would do well TO forget! The ability to forget something we associate with growing old, or the illness of Alzheimer/dementia, chas vshalom - does not always have to be a bad thing. What a wonderful gift it would be if we could manage to forget the petty indiscretions that might have been done to us over the years, the flippant remarks sent our way, or the occasional snub real or perceived that caused us to separate from our fellow Jew or defame him in return.

What if like the farmer in our sedra we could just turn our back on those things & walk away, without a second thought? And if, later, they did come to mind, we could shrug our shoulders & say, What’s done is done; I’ve moved on to a new row, a new & better place.

That, in a sense, is the essence of Teshuva, not so much returning as turning, starting in a different direction. It's a fitting formula for Elul and our prep for the coming Days of Atonement: All the grievances we have, all the anger and discord - FORGET ABOUT IT!
Rabbi Stewart Weiss
Was ordained at the Hebrew Theological College in Skokie, Illinois, and led congregations in Chicago and Dallas prior to making Aliyah in 1992. He directs the Jewish Outreach Center in Ra'anana, helping to facilitate the spiritual absorption of new olim.
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