Vincent Van Gogh, detail from ‘Olive Trees with the Alpilles in the Background,’ 1889.
Each week The Arty Semite connects the Torah reading — however tenuously — with a classic work of rock ‘n’ roll.
This week’s parsha, Ki Tetzey, begins with rules about how to treat a female captive from war, and goes on to give many mitzvot that set moral standards for individuals and society as a whole. These include laws pertaining to loans and collateral, family and extramarital relations, how to exact punishments such as death and lashes, the requirement for fair weights and measures, and many others.
One law concerns a rebellious son who, if he fulfills certain conditions, we are commanded to execute before he becomes a menace to society. David Bowie might describe it like this: