This week’s portion is Ki Tetze, which opens with the words: Ki tetze la milchamah. This is normally translated to mean, “When you go forth to war.” Yet the word ki does not really mean when, but rather because. In a nutshell, the beginning of this week’s portion tells us: Because you go to war against your enemies, you are sure to be successful.
So what is this about, all this talk of war and enemies? On the surface, it doesn’t seem to be very spiritual. Not to mention history shows us that it’s also not true. There have always been “enemies,” and just because we go forth and do battle does not mean that we win. And with each enemy removed, a new one (or two, or three, or four) pops up in its place. How can war ever be considered a success?