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Parsha Mitzvot: Ki Teitzei: Mitzvah 538 – Concept 494

My father zt’l and I had walked almost an hour in a deep snow to get to a synagogue to pray. When we arrived it was clear that no one had shoveled the walkways before Shabbat. The steps to the synagogue were covered with ice. My father turned to me and said, “Let’s go somewhere else!”

“Why? Pa, I’m exhausted.”

“We can’t pray here. The Torah says, “If you build a new house, you shall make a fence for your roof, so that you will not place blood in your house if a fallen one (a person destined to fall) falls from it.” (Deuteronomy 22:8 – Concept #494, Rambam, Hilchot Rotzeiach u’Shmerat nefesh – The Laws of Murder and Preservation of Life) This laws applies to any dangerous situation including a swimming pool or ice on your sidewalk. We cannot pray in a place that does not observe a Biblical commandment!”

My father was Making a Statement. He explained while we walked that the Torah is teaching us that we must make our homes safe, and must work to be sure that there is nothing dangerous in our homes. “This includes a television, inappropriate reading material, and most rock music.”

Elul is a perfect time to evaluate: How safe are our homes?

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