Friday, January 28, 2011

Parashat Mishpotim

From Harav Wolpin

This week we are privileged to read the portion of Mishpotim. The Torah describes many different rules and laws, the majority of which apply to man and his fellow (bein odom lchaveiro). Immediately after we read about kabolas haTorah, we read about the laws applicable to man and his fellow. One should remember that without being honest and kind to a fellow human, the mitzvohs between man and G-d are worthless.

The Torah (shmos 22/24) encourages lending money to the needy and the details of how to collect debt, when applicable. It is written when one lends money to my nation, the poor man, with you..... The chida explains this phrase in several ways.

There was once a king who was in a very upbeat mood and he asked his prime minister "tell me, how much are "your" net assets worth"? The PM answered "approximately, twenty thousand dollars". The king became angry, as he knew, the PM was a wealthy man and he felt betrayed. The PM explained, "twenty thousand is the amount that I gave to charity, that is mine, the other assets can be taken away from me, they're not eternal".

Says the Chid"a, when one gives to a needy person he should give it as a loan so that the poor man is not embarrassed to take it and remember that what you give him, remains with you. Im kesef talve es ami, when you'll loan (give) money to my nation, es haoniy imoch - remember that what you give the poor man, remains with you.

The Chid"a adds another explanation, when a man of means withholds money from a poor man, G-d may punish him as if he stole from the poor man. As G-d put wealth in the hands of some and made others needy, it is only to spare the wealthy man in the merit of charity, and he is no more than an executive on G-d's estate. If he will not distribute the money according to G-d's will, he may be held accountable for mismanaged funds.

That is what the Torah is telling us "es He'oniy  imoch - the poor man is with you",  he is a partner.

May we all merit to always be kind and generous and always pass the trials we are placed in, whether between man and G-d or between man and his fellow mankind.

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