Sexual Ethics, Part 4: Consent, Community, Covenant

Rabbi Aviva Richman

Parashat Ki Teitzei

Exercising leadership means taking responsibility. At the end of last week’s parashah, Shoftim, elders of a town closest to an unsolved murder proclaim they bear no responsibility for the murder and ask for atonement. Yet the Talmud learns from this ceremony of disclaiming guilt that leaders nonetheless bear responsibility—for example, to provide proper accompaniment as travelers leave their city. Blood of the heifer drips down their hands as they claim they have no blood on their hands. (5782)