What is the connection between mitzvot and Dr. Seuss?

The Torah forbids pulling a band wagon with an elephant harnessed with two giraffes - as we find in Dr. Seuss's book.

Phil Chernofsky,

Jew prays on Mount of Olives facing Temple Mount
Jew prays on Mount of Olives facing Temple Mount
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Ki Teitzei is the Mitzva King among the 54 sedras in the Torah, with 74. If is in first place because of another stat - it has 44 parshiyot - followed by Pinchas, Mishpatim, and Bamidbar with 35, 33, and 30 parshiyot respectively. Average for the Torah is 12 parshiyot per sedra. On the other end of the spectrum are Mikeitz and Vayeitzei which are each one parsha long, and Balak, which has two.

Back to Ki Teitzei... with so many mitzvot, it is no surprise that there are so many parshiyot. Many of the mitzvot in the sedra have their own parsha.

That being the case, it is interesting to note one specific parsha which con- sists of two p'sukim, each one being a mitzva - prohibitions, both.

D'varim 22:10-11 - Do not plow with an ox & a donkey together. Do not wear shaatnez, wool & linen together.

The wordings of these two p'sukim are similar - LO, verb, two things, YACHDAV. The mitzvot are different enough from each other to have expected them to be in two separate parshiyot. But they are in the same parsha. Anything to point out? Yes!

The wording of the two mitzvot might be similar, but their differences are greater than any similarities.

Plowing with an ox and a donkey is an example of the whole prohibition. The Torah forbids pulling a band wagon with an elephant harnessed with two giraffes - as we find in Dr. Seuss's And to Think that I Saw It on Mulberry Street - his first book. Plowing, not specifically. Ox, not specifically. Donkey, not specifically.

Wearing wool and linen is it. That is the whole prohibition. You can wear wool and cotton, polyester and silk. You can make a Parochet for an Aron Kodesh from wool and linen woven together. Only wearing wool and linen if forbidden. (Simplified, but not by much.) The first pasuk is inclusive; the second pasuk is exclusive.

How do we know which is what? The Oral Torah - and that brings us to the pasuk from last week's sedra - AL PI HATORAH... We are required to follow the teachings and rules of the Sanhedrin, that crucial institution which transmits the Oral Law, clarifies the Torah's teachings, and legislates Rabbinic Law.

Here's another difference to which we are alerted, because the two mitzvot share a parsha.

No plowing with ox & donkey is very easy to understand and appreciate. This mitzva with a few others are the foundation to the concept of kindness to animals. It's good for the animals and it makes us better people.

Shaatnez? Enigmatic. Connected by some to pagan practices of old. Others see it as part of the forbidden mixtures family of mitzvot. Definitely CHOK-like.

Maybe they share a parsha to remind us that ALL mitzvot are from G-d and that our commitment is (should be) to all mitzvot.


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