A teaching of the Maggid of Dubno, by Rabbi David Hanania Pinto Shlita
Our Sages say, “Why was Parsha Terumah [Offering] given after Mishpatim [Laws]? It is because it is written, ‘I practiced justice and righteousness’ [Ps 119:21].”
Let us first see what the Midrash says on Mishpatim.
It is written, “Mighty is the King, Who loves justice” [Ps 99:4]. Power belongs to the Holy One, blessed be He. He loves justice, and He bestowed it to the Children of Israel Whom He cherishes. “You founded fairness” [ibid.] means: You established equity for those that love You (thanks to the just statutes that You gave them).
The Sages want us to understand why Hashem scorned the peoples by refusing to give them laws. In fact it is written, “These are the laws that you shall place before them” [Ex 21:1], meaning them, not idolaters.
The Maggid of Dubno explains this by means of a parable.
A rich man had taken a home tutor to teach his children the basics of proper etiquette: How to eat properly, to drink properly, to walk about properly, and to sleep properly.
One day, an uncultivated young man came to see the rich man, for he wanted to understand all these rules of etiquette. At that moment the rich man’s children were being taught the etiquette of meals. The students wanted to kick the young man out, but he begged them: “How does it affect you if I come and listen to these wonderful lessons?” He implored them so well (and for so long) that they accepted, and the tutor continued to present the laws in question to them.
“Firstly, one should not go to an event when presented with an invitation sent by only a single messenger. There has to be at least two or three. Secondly, one should not seat oneself a place of honor. Thirdly, one should not be the first person to begin eating, just as one does not hold one’s plate with one’s hands.”
The students were taken aback by the concentration of the young man and began to make fun of him. “Tell us a bit about how all this is going to help you. Have you ever had a plate and cutlery put before you? Aren’t you more likely to eat the leftovers of guests? Why then are you studying all this, things that are completely foreign to you?”
The interpretation of this parable is quite simple. “He did not do so for any other nation; such judgments – they know them not. Halleluyah!” [Ps 147:20]. This means that we should thank Hashem for His goodness in having differentiated us from the other peoples by giving us our heritage directly from Him, as a father to his children.
This is what the Midrash says, namely: “You founded fairness. The justice and righteousness of Jacob, You have made” [Ps 99:4]. What does “You founded fairness” mean? It means, “You made it possible for those who love You to be upright, which is a heritage that You gave them directly. On the foundation of this uprightness, it is completely logical to instruct justice and generosity to them, while it would be useless to give these to another people, one that does not possess this foundation of integrity.”
This may appear a bit strange to some readers but here are some amazing photos from the recent wedding in B'nei Brak of the Sassov Hasidic dynasty head's youngest son marrying the Kretshnif dynasty head's granddaughter; the traditional 'mitzvah tantz' dance lasted all night.
Just after the giving of the Law at Sinai, the Torah presents us with an assortment of laws, some criminal, some civil and some purely religious.
The civil laws in our Torah portion this week, Mishpatim, regulate how we act with one another. They must have been of immediate, practical use, even in the desert; they dealt with slavery, mayhem, and stealing, among other sins. Even more basic are the foundational principals of justice – some explicit and some implicit, but clear in their meaning. The Torah is clear about equality. No one is above the law. Individuals of all stations in life and society must be treated equally. It does not matter if they are of high rank or not. It is of no concern whether they are men, women or small children: the law is equal to all of them.
These laws are as relevant today as they were in ancient times. Mishpatim makes clear, for example, that Judaism abhors the abuse of children.
As the Torah well understands, child molestation is an ancient vice. It has become much more widely discussed because of several recent scandals, mostly in religious institutions.
There are some objective reasons why such things happen quite often in religious institutions. Children are taught and trained to be obedient and to accept their elders as authorities – which makes it so much more difficult for them to resist abuse or to report it. Unfortunately there is no sex education in some of the schools; nor is the subject discussed in some homes. So when something like this happens, it takes time for a child to understand it and even more than that – to talk about it.
Child molestation almost always causes enormous, multi-level damage to the victim's soul: it may make the victim unable to form healthy relationships. They may lose trust in people, because the molesters are often those who were supposed to be their caretakers and protectors.
It should also be stressed over and over again that this crime of child molestation is not just a civil offense: it is also a very severe religious crime. Under Jewish law, it may even deserve capital punishment. Offenders may also be liable for the most severe punishment of karet (untimely death by the hands of the Almighty).
It is important to say all that because there is a tendency to cover up such incidents, especially in institutions, and sometimes even to protect the perpetrators. Partly this is so because those in charge are often more in touch with the molester – who may be a colleague or a friend – than with the children. This is especially the case since children hardly ever express their hurt. And, of course, institutions do not want their reputations to be harmed.
The first and foremost duty of any educational institution, and the prime responsibility of its heads and leaders, is to be rid of anyone who causes such great harm. Good reputation or personal friendships must by no means stand in the way of investigation and clean-up.
We must make sure that such a person will never again be in a position to repeat such offenses. It is therefore not enough to fire the perpetrator from his (or her) work place: it is both the organization’s and society’s duty to make sure that the crimes are known and punished.
As Mishpatim reminds us, no one is above the law. Child molestation is not a local problem; seemingly, it has been with us for millennia. Our duty is to diminish, even eradicate, this evil as much as humanly possible.
Rabbi Steinsaltz, who lives in Jerusalem, is a teacher, philosopher and author who has translated the Talmud into Hebrew and English.
“When you lend money to My people, to the poor person who is with you, do not act towards him as a creditor” [Mishpatim 22:24].
The Midrash explains this verse by citing another: “One who is gracious to the poor has lent to Hashem, and He will pay him his reward” [Proverbs 19:17].
How can it be said that one has lent to the Master of the universe? The Maggid of Dubno offers a parable in order to understand this.
One day Shimon needed some money. His friend Reuven offered to lend it to him on condition that Shimon finds two guarantors in case he couldn’t pay back at the agreed-upon date.
Shimon found the first guarantor, his friend Aryeh, who was financially well-off. His second guarantor, Benjamin, was hardly better off than Shimon himself.
Shimon happily returned to Reuven with the papers signed by both guarantors, and as agreed upon, Reuven lent Shimon the money and put the contract away for safekeeping.
Shimon traveled to a great trade fair in the market district of the capital. Hashem was with him and his earnings increased. Too occupied to even properly deal with his present business, Shimon forgot the due date set for paying back his loan.
The repayment period having passed, Reuven felt quite embarrassed. He held Shimon’s contract in his hand, but there were no signs of Shimon himself.
Reuven asked his assistant to find Shimon. He left to search for him but wasn’t successful because Shimon had left the city not long after having received Reuven’s money. Furthermore, no one knew where he was or when he would return.
After hearing this, Reuven ordered his assistant to approach the guarantors in order to reclaim his money. Without difficulty the assistant found the address of Aryeh, who lived in a beautiful home and was well known in the city. He then went in search of Benjamin, and was told that he lived in a tiny lane in the poor section of town. Arriving there, the assistance saw a passer-by wearing a patched-up coat and asked him if he knew someone by the name of Benjamin.
“Benjamin,” he slowly repeated. “Yes, that’s me. How may I help you?”
“You have a friend by the name of Shimon? He disappeared after having borrowed some money….”
The assistant couldn’t continue. He felt too embarrassed. How could he recover money from a man that he wasn’t even sure could feed himself on that day?
He decided to approach the first guarantor, Aryeh. The assistant went to his home and presented him with the signed contract. Aryeh then reimbursed the entire sum.
Reuven was delighted that Aryeh paid the total amount of the loan and that there was no need to collect anything from Benjamin. Thus Reuven would cause Benjamin neither shame nor suffering to admit that he owned nothing and couldn’t pay his portion of the loan.
Among gentiles, it is normal to lend money with interest in order to make even more of it.
Lehavdil, we act differently in Klal Israel, for the Torah forbids us to take interest. Everything happens as if Klal Israel was in possession of a sum of money, a sum made available to everyone in need and regularly supplied with cash infusions by those who have great amounts of money.
It’s a great mitzvah to lend money without interest.
We are also taught that we shouldn’t humiliate those who owe money but have none with which to pay back. No pressure should be exerted on the poor, and no attempt should be made to remind them of their debt. A person who lends money to another is even advised to avoid meeting the debtor, for the latter might see him and get scared, thinking that he has come to reclaim what the poor person owes, and so the latter will have to admit to the fact that it’s impossible for him to pay it back.
As was stated earlier, in the book of Proverbs it is written, “One who is gracious to the poor has lent to Hashem, and He will pay him his reward.”
In other words, the poor individual receives the tzeddakah as a gift, but for Hashem it is a loan that He will pay back a hundred fold. Also, when a person can’t pay back his debt, the example of Reuven in the parable should be followed. Let us appeal to the more fortunate one, to Aryeh; let us address Him Who possesses all the wealth in the world, Who blesses all our actions that enable us to perform His mitzvot.
I received this video from Rabbi Glazerson, where he speaks about ''purity of life'' and Torah being a protection against the Zika virus, which he says is an agent of the Sa-ma-el [Angel of Destruction and Poison]. And then I read this: Sexually Transmitted Zika Virus Found in Texas
Update to this post: Please see comments for information regarding the Kochav Yaakov - Star of Moshiach, as written in the Zohar. Maybe this is Nibiru.
Have you been reading Devash's posts about Nibiru? I am fascinated by the whole thing, and have been looking at video sightings of it for quite a few weeks now. This video below was just posted on You Tube and clearly shows Nibiru next to the sun. I have no predictions or thoughts regarding its close encounter with Earth in the near future, but would be interested to hear your thoughts.
The term "eye for an eye" explain Chazal [Bava Kamma 84a] is not meant to be taken literally - one who causes another the loss of an eye is not punished by having to lose his own eye. Rather, it means that the responsible party must pay the monetary value of an eye.
Chazal's interpretation of this halachah, said the Vilna Gaon, is alluded to in the words of the verse. Why does the verse state "Ayin tachas ayin" - which literally means "an eye beneath an eye" - and not "Ayin be'ad ayin" - which means "eye for an eye"?
The Torah, explained the Gaon, is hinting to us that in order to discover the true meaning of the verse, we must look at what is "beneath" the ayin, that is the letters that follow the word "ayin" עין:
The letter ayin ע is followed by the letter pei פ
The letter yud י is followed by the letter kaf כּ
The letter nun is ן followed by the letter samech ס
These letters form the word keseph - כּסף - money !
It is customary to say Tehillim for sick people. Recently someone told me of a special way to daven for a sick person.
Perek 119 in Tehillim is divided into paragraphs according to the Alef Bet.
Write down the Hebrew name of the person you are praying for: example Moshe ben Sarah: משה בן שרה
Then say the paragraphs of Psalm 119 according to that name. Fox example, the first paragraph you would say is the one beginning with the letter ''Mem'' then ''Shin'' then ''Hei'' then move on to the letters of the rest of the name in the same way, ending with the ''Hei'' of Sarah.
Why do we use the name of the mother rather than the father? The answer, as well as some other interesting facts, can be found here.
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A teaching of the Maggid of Dubno, by Rabbi David Hanania Pinto Shlita Our Sages say, “Why was Parsha Terumah [Offering] given after M...
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"But I don't want to go among mad people," Alice remarked. "Oh, you can't help that," said the Cat: "we're all mad here. I'm mad. You're mad." "How do you know I'm mad?" said Alice. "You must be," said the Cat, "or you wouldn't have come here."