Below is a collection of Parashat Ki Tetze resources created by The Lookstein Center staff or contributed to the site by Jewish educators.

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Question #1: In Parashat Ki Tetze, we learn about the mitzvah of hashavat aveida, returning a lost object. Why do you think the Torah gives an example of an ox or donkey which is lost? What would be a modern example? Notice that you should return any item which has been lost. Also notice that we’re told twice not to ignore the object. Have you ever lost something important which was returned by someone? How did you feel? Have you ever returned something that belonged to someone you didn’t know? Why do you think this was considered important enough to be included in the Torah?

Look inside the text (Devarim 22:1-3),

לֹא תִרְאֶה אֶת שׁוֹר אָחִיךָ אוֹ אֶת שֵׂיוֹ נִדָּחִים וְהִתְעַלַּמְתָּ מֵהֶם הָשֵׁב תְּשִׁיבֵם לְאָחִיךָ

וְאִם לֹא קָרוֹב אָחִיךָ אֵלֶיךָ וְלֹא יְדַעְתּוֹ וַאֲסַפְתּוֹ אֶל תּוֹךְ בֵּיתֶךָ וְהָיָה עִמְּךָ עַד דְּרשׁ אָחִיךָ אֹתוֹ וַהֲשֵׁבֹתוֹ לוֹ

וְכֵן תַּעֲשֶׂה לַחֲמֹרוֹ וְכֵן תַּעֲשֶׂה לְשִׂמְלָתוֹ וְכֵן תַּעֲשֶׂה לְכָל אֲבֵדַת אָחִיךָ אֲשֶׁר תֹּאבַד מִמֶּנּוּ וּמְצָאתָהּ לֹא תוּכַל לְהִתְעַלֵּם

If you see your friend’s ox or sheep who had gotten lost, do not ignore it; you must take it back to your friend. If your friend does not live near you or you do not know who he is, you should bring it home and it should remain with you until your friend claims it; then you should give it back to him. You should do the same with his donkey; you should do the same with his clothing; and so too should you do with anything that your friend loses and you find: you must not remain indifferent.

Question #2: Imagine your water bottle has spilled all over the floor! It was just an accident – do you have to clean it up? Why? Does the Torah teach us anything about this? In Biblical times (and hundreds of years afterward) houses were built with flat roofs. The roofs were used for sleeping sometimes and for other activities. The Torah commands the builder of a house to also build a fence around the roof so no one would accidentally fall off. We have the responsibility to make sure that the things we do (or build) are also safe for others!

Look inside the text (Devarim 22:8),

כִּי תִבְנֶה בַּיִת חָדָשׁ וְעָשִׂיתָ מַעֲקֶה לְגַגֶּךָ וְלֹא תָשִׂים דָּמִים בְּבֵיתֶךָ כִּי יִפֹּל הַנֹּפֵל מִמֶּנּוּ – When you build a new house, you shall make a parapet for your roof, so that you do not bring bloodguilt on your house if anyone should fall from it.

Question #3: There is a mitzvah to return a lost object. Do we have the right to expect that our lost things will be returned or is the Torah asking us to do what is “nice” – above and beyond the norm?

Question #4: There are many mitzvot in the Torah that suggest that people with an excess of wealth should express care for and share with those who lack that wealth. If I earn money because of my hard work, skill, or even good fortune, why should I share it with others who don’t have the same talents as me? Is this just about feeling sorry for those who don’t have or are there other underlying values?