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 NOACH:

View Complete List

New Stage, Old Actors
Rabbi Pinchas Winston - 5762

Noach - A 'Standard' Tzaddik
Rabbi Eliyahu Hoffmann - 5764

Window to the World
Rabbi Mordechai Kamenetzky - 5762

ArtScroll

Home Alone
Rabbi Mordechai Kamenetzky - 5756

Immorality Around Us
Shlomo Katz - 5759

Back To The Daily Grind
Shlomo Katz - 5765

Frumster - Orthodox Jewish Dating

Faxs vs. Kidney Stones
Rabbi Yissocher Frand - 5759

Sins Committed In Private Ultimately Lead To a Violent Society
Rabbi Yissocher Frand - 5765

The Choosing People
Rabbi Label Lam - 5761

> Building Towers - For What?
- 5774

Making Something of Nothing
Rabbi Shlomo Jarcaig - 5764

The Sign of the Olive
Rabbi Naftali Reich - 5767

Looking for a Chavrusah?

The Path to Serving God
Rabbi Berel Wein - 5773

Saved From a Rainy Day
Rabbi Pinchas Winston - 5758

If it Hurts, Scream!
Rabbi Yisroel Ciner - 5758

The Meaning of Noach
Rabbi Berel Wein - 5770



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