Women as Booty in War: Parashat Ki Tetzei

“When you take the field against your enemies, and the Lord your God delivers them into your power and you take some of them captive, and you see among the captives a beautiful woman and you desire her and would take her to wife, you shall bring her into your house, and she shall trim her hair, pare her nails, and discard her captive’s garb. She shall spend a month’s time in your house lamenting her father and mother; after that you may come to her and possess her, and she shall be your wife.” Deut. 21:10-13

When I first opened my Torah to explore this week’s parashat, I read about the abduction of women in warfare. The topic seemed simple and straight forward. I decided to explore the meaning of the law through the story of the daughters of Shiloh. I didn’t think there would be much to it. How much could there be about wife stealing in the feminist literature? Then I started reading. Now I know that what we are really talking about is “forced pregnancy” and the traffic of women. This is a huge and timely topic to which I hope I can provide a small measure of clarity. Read more…



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