web analytics
April 25, 2015 / 6 Iyar, 5775
At a Glance
Judaism
Sponsored Post


Home » Judaism » Parsha »

Our Creator’s Infinite Love


The-Shmuz

“When a man steals a cow or a sheep and he slaughters it or sells it, five cows shall he pay for the cow and four sheep in place of the sheep.” – Shemos 21:37

In Parshas Mishpatim, the Torah delineates various prohibitions and punishments. With regard to stealing, we see something unusual. If a man steals a cow, he must pay back five times the amount he stole; however, if he stole a sheep, he must pay back four times the amount. Rashi is troubled by the difference in punishments. He explains that the difference lies not in the crime but in the mental state of the thief.

When a man steals a cow, he walks it out of the barn. When a man steals a sheep, he has to place it on his shoulders to carry it away, and this degrades him. After all, to put a mere animal on one’s shoulders is a humiliation to the greatness of man. Since the thief is already suffering the embarrassment of carrying a sheep around, the Torah considers it as if he has already received part of his punishment, so his payment is lessened.

The Rosh HaYeshiva, Rabbi A.H. Leibowitz, zt”l, commented that this Rashi is difficult to understand as it is hard to imagine this man is preoccupied with his embarrassment. He is a common thief, engaged in the act of breaking and entering. He probably isn’t even aware that carrying a sheep is considered demeaning, and he certainly isn’t thinking about it as he makes his escape.

As an illustration, one of the tricks of a good pickpocket is to bump your shoulder as he reaches in to steal your wallet. Since the nervous system can only process one stimulus at a time, when he nudges your shoulder, your attention is diverted to that area and you don’ t even feel your wallet being lifted out of your pocket. So too this thief. If he is thinking about anything other than not getting caught, it would be about tonight’s dinner that he is happily carrying home with him. Why would the Torah consider part of his punishment already received when it is unlikely that he even feels that embarrassment?

The answer to this question can best be understood by focusing on our relationship to our Creator.

Hashem Loves You More Than You Love You

The Chovos HaLevovos explains that one of the most basic facts in my relationship with Hashem is that He loves me more than I love myself. Hashem is more concerned for my good than I am. Hashem looks out for my interests more than I do myself.

This concept is the foundation of bitachon. Without it, trusting in Hashem is foolish. How can I rely on Hashem if He doesn’t care about me? How can I trust in Hashem if I am irrelevant in to Him? The only way a person can develop a true reliance on Hashem is by understanding that Hashem loves every one of His creations to an extent that is beyond human comprehension. And because of Hashem’s infinite mercy and kindness, even if I do not deserve something, Hashem may give it to me anyway.

The Rosh Ha’Yeshiva, zt”l, explained that this seems to be the answer to this Rashi. It may well be that as this thief is making his escape, he is unaware of the embarrassment that he is suffering, nevertheless it makes an impact deep within him. He is a human as all other humans, and was created in the image of Hashem. As such, he has the same sensitivities and delicate nature of all humans. He was created for greatness, and there is a part of him that cries out in pain when a mere animal is placed over him. Granted, while he is engaged in this act, he might be oblivious to the pain. But the pain is there, and it leaves its imprint, even if he is unaware of it.

This is a powerful illustration of Hashem’s compassion – even for a man who has deadened his heart to pain. The heart still feels it, and Hashem considers that pain significant and counts it as partial punishment for the crime.

This Man Isn’t a Tzaddik

This point becomes even more salient because this man is no tzaddik. The Torah is describing a man who has veered off the Torah’s way. He is sneaking into his neighbor’s barn and committing a crime. Even so, Hashem has mercy on him and feels his pain, even more than he does himself. This stems from the love Hashem has for each of us. The extent that He cares for our good is even greater than the extent we care for ourselves.

While this concept has many applications, it has particular relevance when we come to that rude awakening of “I have messed up.” At various points in our lives, we will reach the clarity to understand that we are human, and by design we have flaws and imperfections. With that recognition should also come the desire to correct our course and do teshuvah. Being aware that Hashem has infinite love and patience can allow us to embark on that most difficult task given to the human: growth, change and ultimately returning to our Creator, who loves us more than we can ever imagine.

The new Shmuz book “Stop Surviving and Start Living,” is available in stores, at www.TheShmuz.com, or by calling 866-613-TORAH (8672).

About the Author: Rabbi Shafier is the founder of the Shmuz.com – The Shmuz is an engaging, motivating shiur that deals with real life issues. All of the Shmuzin are available free of charge at the www.theShmuz.com or on the Shmuz App for iphone or Android.


If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.

Our comments section is intended for meaningful responses and debates in a civilized manner. We ask that you respect the fact that we are a religious Jewish website and avoid inappropriate language at all cost.

If you promote any foreign religions, gods or messiahs, lies about Israel, anti-Semitism, or advocate violence (except against terrorists), your permission to comment may be revoked.

No Responses to “Our Creator’s Infinite Love”

Comments are closed.

Current Top Story
"Killing Jews is worship that draws us closer to Allah." That's his Jihad. What's yours? - An ad campaign sponsored by  the American Freedom Defense Initiative.
MTA Hopes to Change Rule, Ban ‘Killing Jews’ Anti-Jihad Ad
Latest Judaism Stories
Torat-Hakehillah-logo-NEW

In her diary, Anne Frank wrote words that provided hope for a humanity faced with suffering.

Leff-042415

The Arizal taught this same approach, making the point that the Torah would never mention wicked people and their sins if there was not great depth involved from which we are to learn from.

Staum-042415

Humility is not achieved when all is well and life is peachy but rather when times are trying and challenging.

In order to be free of the negative consequences of violating a shvu’ah or a neder, the shvu’ah or neder themselves must be annulled.

“I accept the ruling,” said Mr. Broyer, “but would like to understand the reasoning.”

He feared the people would have a change of heart and support Rechavam.

Ramifications Of A Printers Error
‘The Note Holder’s Burden of Proof’
(Kesubos 83b)

Question: If Abraham was commanded to circumcise his descendants on the eighth day, why do Arabs – who claim to descend from Abraham through Yishmael – wait until their children are 13 to circumcise them? I am aware that this is a matter of little consequence to our people. Nevertheless, this inconsistency is one that piques my curiosity.

M. Goldman
(Via E-mail)

In this case one could reason that by applying halach achar harov we could permit the forbidden bird as well.

“What a way to spend a Sunday afternoon,” my husband remarked. “Well, baruch Hashem we are safe, there was no accident, and I’m sure there is a good reason for everything that happened to us,” I mused.

The answer to this question is based on one of the greatest shortcomings of man – self-limiting beliefs.

Myth that niddah=dirty stopped many women from accepting laws of family purity and must be shattered

In every generation is the challenge to purge the culture of our exile from our minds and our hearts

Rabbi Fohrman connects the metzora purification process with the korban pesach.

The day after Israel was declared a State, everyone recited Hallel and people danced in the streets.

More Articles from Rabbi Ben Tzion Shafier
Shmuz-logo-NEW

The answer to this question is based on one of the greatest shortcomings of man – self-limiting beliefs.

Shmuz-logo-NEW

When Chazal call not eating treif food a chok, that refers to how it functions.

And the farmer can’t help but feel a sense of pride. After all, it was his wisdom that led him to choose corn, not like that fool of a guy next door who planted wheat.

So what type of praise is it that Aaron followed orders?

If my garment is clean, then I will be careful about maintaining its beauty. If it is soiled, I will not be as careful.

This concept should be very relevant to us as we, too, should be happy beyond description.

The avodah (service) of the kohen gadol is vital and highly sensitive; the world’s very existence depends on it.

While it may appear that man is in charge, Hashem orchestrates every activity on the planet

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/judaism/parsha/our-creators-infinite-love/2012/02/15/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: