February 12, 2021 9:09 am at 9:09 am #1947519abukspanParticipant
Mishpatim 2 — Souls for Safekeeping:
@08כי יתן איש אל רעהו כסף או כלים לשמר וגנב מבית האיש אם ימצא הגנב ישלם שנים: אם לא ימצא הגנב ונקרב בעל הבית אל האלהים
@09When a man gives his friend money or utensils to guard, and it is stolen from the man’s house, if the thief is found he shall pay double. If the thief is not found, then the master of the house shall come close to the judges (Shemos 22:6–7).
These pesukim detail the laws of a shomer chinam, an unpaid watchman. If he claims that the object on deposit — money or utensils — was stolen, he is brought before beis din. There he swears various oaths that attest to his innocence. He is then free to leave. In the event that the thief is found, the thief pays double, as a punitive measure.
That is the pshat, the literal meaning of the pesukim. The Chasam Sofer, in Toras Moshe, mentions a derash, a homiletic interpretation, from his rebbi, Rav Nassan Adler.
These pesukim are a narrative of how Hashem entrusts man with all his necessities, along with the obligation to use them judiciously; if he does not use them wisely, the verses explain what his course of action should be in order to rectify the situation:
• @44“Ki yitein ish — When a Man gives.” The Man refers to Hashem, as it says, “Hashem Ish milchamah — Hashem is a Man of war” (Shemos 15:3).
• @45“el rei’eihu — to His friend.” The friend refers to Yisrael, as it says, “Rei’acha ve’Reia avicha al taazov — Do not forsake your Friend and the Friend of your father” (Mishlei 27:10). In this verse, “your Friend” is referring to Hashem. If He is our Friend, then ipso facto, we are His friend.
• @45“kesef o cheilim — money or utensils.” Money or utensils refers to money and all of a person’s limbs and physical needs.
• @45“lishmor — to guard.” Each person is instructed to watch and guard all that he has been blessed with, and to keep them holy.
• @45“ve’gunav mi’beis ha’ish — and it is stolen from the man’s house.” But rather than using them wisely, he steals or misappropriates what Hashem, the Man, has given him.
• @45“im yimetzei haganav — if the thief is found.” If it is revealed that the person is a thief: that he has not done teshuvah and is still engaged in his theft — his misuse of what he has been given by Hashem.
• @45“yeshaleim shnayim — he shall pay double.” This is as it says in Yeshayahu (40:2), “Ki lakchah mi’yad Hashem kiflayim be’chol chatoseha — For she has received from Hashem’s hand double for all her sins.”
• @45“im lo yimatzei haganav — if the thief is not found.” If the person has done teshuvah, and is no longer stealing from Hashem.
• @46“ve’nikrav baal habayis el ha’Elokim — the master of the house shall come close to Elokim.” Then the person becomes closer to Hashem than even a complete tzaddik: “In the place where baalei teshuvah stand, the absolutely righteous cannot stand” (Rambam, Hilchos Teshuvah 7:4). The Rambam explains that their spiritual level is higher than those who have never sinned because they conquer their inclination more.
Hashem has entrusted and charged man with the ultimate gift and responsibility. Use what you have been given, but use it correctly!
This idea can be seen in a novel reading of two verses in Tehillim (24:3–4): “Mi yaaleh ve’har Hashem u’mi yakum bimkom kadsho neki chapayim u’var leivav asher lo nasa la’shav nafshi ve’lo nishba le’mirmah — Who will ascend the mountain of Hashem, and who will stand in His holy place? He who has clean hands and a pure heart, who has not sworn in vain by My soul nor sworn deceitfully.”
In the second pasuk, two types of inappropriate oaths are mentioned: “la’shav — in vain,” and “le’mirmah — deceitfully.” What is gained by specifying these two, when there are more than two ways of swearing inappropriately?
A mashal is told of a person who is down on his luck and desperate to support his family. He approaches the renowned financier and banker, Baron Rothschild. He tells him his story of woe, whereupon Rothschild takes him to his bank. The baron withdraws one million dollars of brand new, uncirculated money — still wrapped from the printer, all with sequential serial numbers — and gives him an interest-free loan for one year.
One year later on the dot, the person appears at the bank to return the money. He enters Rothschild’s office, opens his valise, and hands over the money he received last year. Still wrapped, with all the serial numbers in order. Beaming with pride that he is an honest man who has returned all the money, he is taken aback when Rothschild starts fuming.
“You idiot! You fool!” screams Rothschild.
“What have I done wrong? I gave you back your money!” says the poor man.
The magnate explains, “I gave you the money to help yourself: to pay off your debts, go into business, and support your family. You wasted the money! It was sterile, serving no purpose. If I would have kept it, I could have given charity, helped other people, or made more money with it. I would have used the money well; it would have made a difference in the world!”
Based on this well-known mashal, perhaps this verse, too, can be explained homiletically. Each of us has been given a fortune, something of incalculable value, from Hashem. We have been entrusted with a nefesh Eloki, a Divine soul. And with that soul, we have been granted a certain amount of life. Our task is to use our allotted time purposefully, usefully. We are supposed to study Torah and keep mitzvos, be charitable and do chesed. To make an impact in This World, to use the gift of the soul and the time it provides to better the lives of ourselves and others.
Unfortunately, some people give back their soul the same way they got it. Unused and unfulfilled. They waste their years; their souls serve no real purpose. They have carried their soul for nothing!
This is what the pesukim in Tehillim are telling us: “Who will ascend the mountain of Hashem, and who will stand in His holy place? He who has clean hands and a pure heart:
“asher — who;
lo nasa — did not carry [the word nasa can also mean carry];
la’shav — in vain;
nafshi — my soul.”
This could be the answer to the question regarding the two types of inappropriate oaths. When reading the first part of the pasuk with this explanation, only the second part — deceitfully — refers to an oath, and not the first part. Thus, only one kind of oath is discussed in this verse.
The person, who, after 120 years can say, “I bore my soul proudly; I lived a useful and productive life; I used all that I was given by Hashem to improve my spiritual state, as well as that of others; my soul was carried for a purpose,” is the person who can now stand in His holy place. He is the servant who has climbed on his own, and indeed deserves to be on the mount of Hashem.
This person has zealously guarded the kesef and keilim, money and utensils, which were entrusted to him. He has used them with care and he deserves to come close to Hashem: “ve’nikrav baal habayis el ha’Elokim.”February 12, 2021 3:32 pm at 3:32 pm #1947611Reb EliezerParticipant
There is one aveira mentioned in tefilas nilah, oshak, stealing which encompasses all aveiras misusing what Hasbem provides us including time for the bad. If a person does teshuva meahava, from love, the aveiras get converted to good deeds because he accomplishes more by sinning than not sinning at all by getting closer to Hashem. If he does not do teshuva, he is punished twice, once for violating Hashem’s will and two, not allowing Him to do good.February 12, 2021 4:23 pm at 4:23 pm #1947621Reb EliezerParticipant
Im lo sholach yoda bimleches reehu, if he has not laid his hand on his fellows property. He gets elevated provided he has not violated laws which apply between him and his friend, ben adam lechavero.
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