This week's Torah portion, Ki Tetze, contains a set of verses -- at first glance, apparently unrelated -- about military service exemptions, appropriate collateral, and the penalty for kidnapping. It's an intriguing trio, and it's at the heart of my d'var this week for Radical Torah:
The throughline that connects these three verses is respect for our fellow beings, our “others,” in their relationships, their livelihoods, and their selves. Even the ordering can hold meaning: relationships, at the heart of every interaction, come first. Then work, the way we earn our bread and make our mark on the world. And then, in a stunning case of last-but-not-least, personhood, the recognition of the whole and holy value of every other being with whom we interact.
Read the whole thing here: Relationship, work, and self. Shabbat shalom, all!