Please Learn in the Merit of:

Please learn for the merit of a complete recovery for the following individuals:

Ya'akov Don ben Esther Ahuvah Sharona
Avraham Yishayahu ben Aviva
Perel Leah bas Sima

Please learn in the merit/memory of Eyal ben Uriel, Gil-Ad Michael ben Ophir, Ya'akov Naftali ben Avraham, and Alter Aryeh Leib Reuven ben Sima

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Shmiras HaLashon כ"ז טבת - Teves 27 - One-Hundred-and-Seventeenth Day

© 2007 by Robert Lepor. All rights reserved.

[Chofetz Chaim’s note: [The person who is wronged by his fellow, and nevertheless restrains himself from retaliating against that person, instead supplicating HaShem to restore that loss, is rewarded by HaShem, while] his fellow [who wronged him, suffers] depletion [from his designated portion] in exchange for [that which he robbed from his fellow. The person who steals from his fellow does not achieve any monetary gain], for it is known that one who robs [from] his fellow, is only a fool and an evildoer, for, as a consequence of his having robbed his fellow, his [net profit] will, [notwithstanding], not exceed [the amount] that was decreed for him on Rosh HaShanah, for in the place of having taken that abundance that had come or that would have come into the possession of his fellow, the [equivalent amount of] sustenance that was decreed for him on Rosh HaShanah, will be taken from him. Eventually, [even] the remaining wealth [of this thief, that being that] money [which was] rightfully earned, will be consumed, as [our Sages of Blessed Memory] have said [in masechesSukkah” (29b), as follows]: “Due to four things, the property of homeowners goes down the drain, and I shall mention one of [the reasons, that being] because they remove the yoke from upon themselves, and put it on their fellow [people].[1] Similarly, in the third chapter of masechesDerech Eretz Zuta”, [we learn that] “if you have taken that which does not belong to you, even that which rightfully belongs to you will be taken from you.”[2] This [loss which comes to the person for wrongfully taking that which belongs to his fellow], is not simply like exchanging a rightful gain with that [gain] which is forbidden, for in the future, [that person] will have to give a judgment and accounting for every single p’rutah [that was in his possession. This follows that which our Sages] have said [in masechesBava Kamma” (119a), as follows]: “All those who steal the equivalent of a p’rutah [from their] fellow, [is considered] as if he has taken his life.”[3] Furthermore, [such an individual] “burdens” The Holy One, Blessed is He, to return that which is stolen to its’ owner, as [our Sages] have said [in masechesSanhedrin” (8a), as follows]: “The Holy One, Blessed is He, said to the evildoers: It is not enough that you steal, rather, you burden Me to return the stolen [property] to its’ owner.[4] All of these [aforementioned] matter are hinted to in our Holy Torah, in ParshasVa’Yaitzei” (B’reishis: 31; 11 – 12), as it is written, “And [an] angel of G-d said to me in a dream, “Ya’akov”… lift up your eyes and see all of the rams who are coming upon the sheep [are] spotted by their ankles, speckled, and striped.” [The above [quote] follows RaSh”I’s explanation over there [on verse 10, that being] that the angels would bring [these sheep] from the flock [of sheep] that was given over into the possession of the sons of Lavan to the flock that was in the possession of Ya’akov]. [The] explanation [of the above, as it relates to our context, is as follows]: Perhaps you will [question] how it is permitted for Me to take from the Lavan’s [property] and to give it to you. [In answer to such a potential question], the angel concludes [on behalf of HaShem, as follows]: “For I have seen all of that which Lavan does to you” (31; 12), that he has changed your wage one-hundred times, and has taken [from the property that rightfully belongs to] you, therefore I am returning [your rightful share] to you].

However, if one will not act in such a manner [as is befitting, not trusting in HaShem that He will right the wrong], and will [instead] constantly quarrel with his fellow because of this [wrong that his fellow committed against him], even if the truth lies with him, nevertheless, this [reprisal taken against his fellow] will not [bring] satisfaction [to] HaShem Yisbarach, just as [is the case with] the father [who does not find content at the time] when [he sees] his sons quarrel over the portions [of food] that [the father] provided them [at] his table, as is mentioned previously, [in the parable].[5]

When one will act [in an appropriate manner by] maintaining the attribute of trust [in HaShem, confident that HaShem will right the wrong inflicted upon him, and thus] not take retribution against one who wronged him], he will merit to see of the kindness and of the goodness of The Holy One, Blessed is He, as the pasuk [from “Tehillim”] states, “You shall taste and see that HaShem is good, praiseworthy is the man who takes shelter in Him.” (Tehillim: 34; 9) [When the pasuk] states “taste and see”, [it comes] to teach us, [that] just as [it is the case with] someone who tastes something in his mouth [and thereby] recognizes [the qualities of the food] that he tastes, so too [is this evident] of one who truly possesses the attribute of trust [in HaShem, for this person] recognizes the greatness of the goodness of The Holy One, Blessed is He.

[1] The entire gemara in this discussion, reads as follows:

“Rav said, ‘On account of four matters, the property of homeowners goes down the drain: 1) [On account of those who] withhold the wage of a hired worker, 2) [on account of one who] steals the wage of a hired worker, 3) [on account of] removing the yoke from one’s neck and puts it on their fellows, and 4) [on account of] haughtiness of spirit, and haughtiness of spirit is equivalent to all of them. However, concerning those who are humble, it is written, “And the humble will inherit the earth and shall take delight on an abundance of peace.” (Tehillim: 37; 11)’” (Sukkah, 29b)

The MaHaRSh”A explains that the haughty leaders will expect their fellows to take upon themselves the yoke of leadership in their place. The MaHaRSh”A also notes that the individual performs the first three of the aforementioned sins as he is haughty.

[2] Though in the Hebrew text, it notes that the teaching is found in the third chapter of “Derech Eretz Zuta”, this teaching has been found in the second chapter of “Derech Eretz Zuta” (halacha 2). It’s possible that there are versions of “Derech Eretz Zuta” which do record this teaching as being in the third chapter.

The teaching in masechesDerech Eretz Zuta”, states as follows:

“If you have become lax in [the performance of] one mitzvah, you will eventually similarly become lax in another mitzvah. If you have uprooted yourself to become lenient with one mitzvah, you will eventually similarly become lax with another mitzvah. If you have willingly transgressed the words of The Torah, they will eventually cause you to transgress [the words of The Torah], whether willingly or unwillingly, and you will not [receive] reward [due to] your suffering. If you have taken that which does not belong to you, even that which belongs to you, they will be taken from you.”

[3] The text of the gemara (Bava Kamma, 119a), states as follows:

“Rabbi Yochanan said, ‘All those who rob that which is equivalent in value to a p
rtuah, from [their] fellow, it is considered as if he has taken his life from him, as it says [in the following pasuk from “Mishlei”]: “Such is the way of all of those who steal, they take the lives of the owners [of the stolen item].” (1; 19), and it states, “And he ate your harvest and your bread… your sons and your daughters…” (Yirmiyahu: 5; 17), and it states, “…from the robbery of the children of Yehuda, that they have spilled the blood of those who are innocent in your land.” (Yoel: 4; 19), and it states, “…and to Shaul and to the House of Blood, on [account of that which] they killed the Givonites.” (Shmuel II: 21; 1)”

“What is the meaning [of writing “and it states” to introduce more pesukim that deal with the sin of theft]? If you will [suggest that it is] the life [of the victim of the theft which is taken], however, the lives of his sons and daughters [are] not [taken, that is not the case, for the pasuk from seferYirmiyahu”] comes to inform [us that] the flesh of his sons and daughters [is consumed]. If you will [suggest that the above is true in the case] where the [thief] did not give money [for the stolen item], however, in a situation where he gave money [for the item that was taken against the will of the owner], this would not be the case [that it is considered as if he took the lives of the victim and of his children. [Therefore, the pasuk from seferYoel”] comes to inform us “…from the chamas – extortion* – of the Children of Yehuda, that you spilled the blood of innocent people in their land.” If you will [suggest that it is considered as if the robber took the life of the victims of the robbery ] in a situation when [the robbery] is committed with one’s hands, however, [if one steals from another through] an indirect action, [the thief is] not [considered to have taken the lives of his victims. Therefore, the pasuk from seferShmuel II”] comes to inform [us], “…to Shaul and to the House of Blood, concerning that which he killed the Givonites.” Where do we find that Shaul killed the Givonites? Rather, since he killed Nov, the city of the kohanim, who provided water and sustenance to [the Givonites], the pasuk considers it as if [Shaul] killed [the Givonites].”

* In this context, “chamas” refers to the type of robbery committed when the thief snatches the given item against the consent of the victim, and gives money to the victim for the stolen item.

[4] Rabbi Chama quotes this teaching in the gemara in the name of Rabbi Chanina.

[5] This parable is found on the 26th day of Teves.

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