Torah.org Home Subscribe Services Support Us
 
Print Version

Email this article to a friend

Parshas Ki Seitzei

by Rabbi Dovid Green


The Torah, in this week's parsha, teaches us about many civil obligations. Among them is the commandment to return lost articles to our fellow. Under most circumstances one may not turn away from the obligation to take in and return something one's fellow lost. There are many rules regarding when one may keep a lost article, and when one must advertise that he found it. Even then when one must advertise, there is a time limit.

One of the procedures one must follow is that the object must be returned in a way that it will not end up as an expense to the fellow the object was returned to. For instance, if it is an animal that needs to be fed, the finder will end up presenting the owner with a bill for the food. The owner may end up paying the animal's worth to the finder, and not really gain anything in its having been returned.

Our Rabbis in the oral law explain to us that under such circumstances one must do as follows. If the animal can work, such as an ox, than it must "pay its way" by working. If it gives milk, it can pay its way by giving milk to the finder who will in turn feed it. Something which doesn't produce in any way should be sold, and the money should be held for the owner until he tracks down the whereabouts of the finder.

The following story is recorded about Rabbi Chanina Ben Dosa, a very pious sage who lived in the Mishnaic period approximately 2000 years ago. He once found chickens which had been tied at the legs and forgotten. He took them home, but they multiplied and became a great burden, and nuisance. He decided to sell them and buy goats which require less hands on, but also multiplied to abundance. When the man who lost the chickens finally tracked them down and identified them, he was surprised to find a herd of goats in their place. "This must be a mistake. I didn't lose goats, I lost chickens." "You are right, replied Rabbi Chanina, but these are the goats that I purchased with your chickens which I sold. You may take your goats."

Imagine a world where people demonstrate such regard for each other communally, on a large scale. This would create a major revolution, because this idea is the basis for an important conclusion. If one must demonstrate this level of concern for a fellow's possessions, how much more so toward one's fellow himself. The Torah is the key to elevated behavior, and as a result, a more elevated society in general.

Good Shabbos!


Text Copyright © 1997 Rabbi Dovid Green and Project Genesis, Inc.

 


ARTICLES ON VAYIGASH AND CHANUKAH:

View Complete List

To Fergin Or Forget
Rabbi Yochanan Zweig - 5771

At Last, The Final Approach
Rabbi Pinchas Winston - 5761

Smelling The Fragrance Of Hope
Rabbi Eliyahu Hoffmann - 5768

ArtScroll

'The Plan'
Rabbi Yaakov Menken - 5761

My Master Is In Me
Rabbi Dovid Green - 5757

Staying Connected
Rabbi Moshe Peretz Gilden - 5765

Looking for a Chavrusah?

Mitzvah Lamp
Rabbi Osher Chaim Levene - 5766

Sparing Embarrassment Of His Brothers Was Worth The Risk
Rabbi Yissocher Frand - 5773

The Real Story
Rabbi Yaakov Menken - 5763

Frumster - Orthodox Jewish Dating

Many Routes, One Destination
Rabbi Eliyahu Hoffmann - 5759

As Amazing as Yosef HaTzadik
Rabbi Label Lam - 5771

Whole Justice
Rabbi Mordechai Kamenetzky - 5762

> Those Small Jars
Rabbi Pinchas Winston - 5758

The Lost Jewel
Shlomo Katz - 5765

Guarantors
Shlomo Katz - 5772

Three Steps Forward Before Praying Three Examples
Rabbi Yissocher Frand - 5771



Project Genesis

Torah.org Home


Torah Portion

Jewish Law

Ethics

Texts

Learn the Basics

Seasons

Features

TORAHAUDIO

Ask The Rabbi

Knowledge Base




Help

About Us

Contact Us



Free Book on Geulah!




Torah.org Home
Torah.org HomeCapalon.com Copyright Information