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The Torah describes the only permissible way that a woman captured in battle may be married. In a case where a man is married to two wives, one of whom he hates, and she gives birth to the firstborn son, this son's right to inherit a double portion is protected against the father's desire to give this to the children of the favoured wife. The penalty for a wayward and rebellious son who will inevitably degenerate into a monstrous human being is death by stoning. The body of a hanged man must not be left on the gallows overnight -- as it was the dwelling place of the soul which is holy, it too has become holy. A person finding lost property has a responsibility to track down the owner and return it. Men are forbidden from wearing women's clothing and vice versa. A mother bird may not be taken together with her eggs; rather the mother must be sent away first. A fence must be built around the roof of a house to prevent people from falling. It is forbidden to plant a field with a mixture of seeds; or to plow using an ox and a donkey together; or to combine wool and linen in a garment. A four-cornered garment must have twisted threads (tsitsit) on its corners. Laws and penalties in regard to sexual offenses are detailed. When Israel goes to war, the camp must be governed by rules of spiritual purity. If, as a result of the battle, a slave escapes, he must be freed and not returned to his master. Promiscuity is prohibited to men and women alike. Taking any kind of interest for loaning money to a Jew is forbidden. Beney Yisrael are not to make vows even in a good cause. A worker may eat of the fruit he is harvesting, but not take it home with him. Divorce and re-marriage are legislated. A new husband is exempted from the army and stays at home the first year to make his wife happy until the relationship is cemented. Collateral on a loan may not include tools of labor for this may prevent the debtor from earning a living. The penalty for kidnapping for profit is death. Removal of the signs of the disease of Tsara'at is forbidden. Even if a loan is overdue, the creditor must return the debtor's collateral every day if the debtor needs it. Workers must be paid immediately. The guilty may not be subjugated by punishing an innocent relative. Because of their vulnerability, proselytes and orphans have special rights of protection. The poor are to have a portion of the harvest. A court has the right to impose the punishment of lashes. An ox must not be muzzled in its threshing, but be allowed to eat while it works. It is a mitsvah for a man to marry his brother's widow if there were no children from that marriage. Weights and measures must be honest. The Parashah concludes with the mitsvah to wipe out the name of Amalek, for in spite of knowing all that happened in Egypt, they ambushed the Jewish People after the Exodus.




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