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Parashat Ki Teseh


One of the most rewarding yet challenging areas of life is in the arena of human relationships. Relationships add meaning, texture, vitality, and spirituality to our lives and yet are a deep source of frustration when they go off the tracks.

Rabbi Aharon Halevi, from Barcelona, Spain in the 13th century, teaches a Misvah in this week’s reading which can shed some light on relationships in general.

In this Misvah, the Torah writes, ’You shall not plow with an ox and a donkey together. 

The rationale behind this prohibition is that animals of two different species will not pull at the same rate and will frustrate one another.

Based on this interpretation, the Rabbi extends this prohibition to include any attempt to put together in a joint venture people who are fundamentally incompatible. If their temperaments are sufficiently diverse that they will frustrate each other, then they should not be paired under the same yoke.

It is apparent from this explanation that this principle should be applied to any relationship that requires cooperative effort whether it be social, marital, or occupational. Compelling incompatible people to work together may actually be a violation of a Torah law.

Rabbi Shaul