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    Three keys – Ki Tetzei

    This week and next, the parashah begins Ki – “When”.

    There is a Ki in the Book of Sh’motKi Tissa. This week’s Ki is Ki Tetzei – “When you go out”. Next week it is Ki Tavo – “When you come in”. Ki Tissa is “When you count” (literally, “When you lift up”).

    The three “Keys” may or may not have any intrinsic link, but homiletically we may posit one.

    In life you have to know when to go out – when to leave your comfort zone, when to venture forward, when to move ahead.

    It is tempting to say, “I am bored, I am restless, I can’t sit still”, and to get up and move – anywhere, no matter where, so long as you are in action.

    The next key is a warning: know where you are headed – not just anywhere, but a destination or at least a general direction.

    You might not reach the place you planned to get to, but being on the right road and making a degree of progress is important.

    External events may get in the way and something quite unexpected might frustrate your plans, but even taking these things into consideration a person must have what I have called “a general direction”.

    You might ask, quite legitimately, how to decide upon a general direction in life, and that is where the third key comes into play.

    If you “lift up” a set of values so that you know what you believe in and aspire towards, you have a ready-made yardstick and standard. From the Jewish point of view that yardstick and standard is enshrined in the Torah.

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