The Attitude of GratitudeBy Rabbi Jack Abramowitz
We are not to hate the nations of Edom and Egypt. Edom is descended from Eisav (Esau), so they are our brothers. And, despite the slavery, we do owe a debt of gratitude to Egypt because we lived in their land. These nations are not permanently banned from freely marrying within Israel; restrictions are lifted in the third generation after an Edomite or Egyptian converts.
In order to be successful, the army must rid themselves of any impurity. If a soldier has a seminal emission, he must leave the camp until he is purified. There must also be a designated latrine area for the camp and they must have a spade among their weapons so that they can cover their excrement. In order to ensure God’s assistance in battle, they must elevate themselves and have nothing disgusting or unseemly in their camp.
Resuming our quick succession of assorted laws:
* If a runaway slave seeks asylum, you can’t extradite him.
* Prostitution is forbidden and wages earned from prostitution are forbidden as a Temple donation, as is the price of a dog.
* Interest is prohibited between Jews.
* When a person makes a vow to God, he must be careful to fulfill it in a timely fashion. (The Talmud in Rosh Hashana 4b defines this as before three Festivals have passed.) Failure to fulfill a vow is a sin, so it’s better to abstain from making such promises altogether.