The Torah this week speaks of the beautiful war captive. Before a soldier may take her as his bride he must bring her into his home, cut her hair and nails, give her plain clothing to wear, and let her cry for her parents for 30 days. At the end of this time he may choose to marry her. If he does not, he may not subject her to hard labor or treat her harshly because he has pained her. Most explain the pain was the 30 days of crying and feeling ugly. Rabbi Zalman Sorotzkin in Oznayim LaTorah suggests something else. For 30 days she has lived in a Jewish home. The husband and wife treat each other with honor, the children are respectful, and life has purpose. She has experienced the pleasure of a Shabbat or Yom Tov. When he now chooses not to marry her, and this beautiful Jewish life is taken away from her, that is the pain for which the man must feel regret. If this was such a source of pain to this woman, how much more should we, who have been blessed with the life of a Jew, see it as a source of joy. – Rabbi Jonathan Gewirtz

SPARKS of JUDAISM
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