Torah.org Home Subscribe Services Support Us
 
Print Version

Email this article to a friend

Going Beyond the Letter of the Law, Part 3

In the previous article we discussed why there was such a strict punishment when the Jews treated each other in a strict fashion: They missed the point of “what is right and good,” that it is wrong to treat one’s fellow Jew in a harsh and unforgiving manner. Such treatment violates the spirit of interpersonal relations that the Torah espouses.

The commentaries find another difficulty with the Gemara’s saying that the Beis HaMikdash was destroyed because people were strict with each other. Other gemaros give different reasons for the destruction, such as murder, idol worship, immorality, and baseless hatred[1]. Rav Yitzchak of Volozhin answered this question when he witnessed the following incident. Someone had slandered his fellow and then came before Yom Kippur to ask for forgiveness. The victim refused to forgive him, pointing to the halachah that one need not pardon slander. Rav Yitzchak then asked this victim about the aforementioned contradiction in gemaros. He explained that the Beis HaMikdash was destroyed because of the terrible sins enumerated in the other gemaros. However, he pointed out that Chazal tell us that when people treat each other beyond the letter of the law and are not exacting on every point, Hashem acts measure for measure and forgives even the worst sins. Therefore, when Hashem saw that people were treating each other in a strict fashion, He acted accordingly and chose not to forgive their other sins. So too, Rav Yitzchak told the unforgiving person, if you treat your fellow so strictly, Hashem will treat you the same way. The man learned the lesson and forgave the slanderer.

May we all treat each other how we would like to be treated ourselves, and may HaShem react in kind.


[1] It is not clear which Beis HaMikdash the Gemara in Bava Metzia means.


 

Text Copyright © 2009 by Rabbi Yehonasan Gefen and Torah.org

Visit Rabbi Gefen's new blog at rabbiygefen.blogspot.com.

Rabbi Gefen's new book, The Guiding Light, is now available! To order, please contact Rabbi Gefen at Gefen123@smile.net.il or 00972 52 761 9935.


 






ARTICLES ON KI SEITZEI AND ELUL / ROSH HASHANAH:

View Complete List

Circumstantial Repentance
Rabbi Yehudah Prero - 5763

Paying Attention to the Voice of the Almighty
- 5767

Diminishing Returns
Rabbi Mordechai Kamenetzky - 5756

Looking for a Chavrusah?

The 'New' of the New Year
Rabbi Dovid Green - 5758

The Blessings We All Hope For
Rabbi Label Lam - 5773

Let the King Be Proud
Rabbi Chaim Flom - 5767

ArtScroll

Practice Makes Perfect
Shlomo Katz - 5758

The Custom of Eating Symbolic Foods
Rabbi Yehudah Prero - 5755

All Israel!
Rabbi Label Lam - 5771

> Two People, One Soul
Rabbi Naftali Reich - 5772

Better Innocent than Guilty
Rabbi Yissocher Frand - 5756

Nerve Centre of the Year
Rabbi Eliyahu Hoffmann - 5763

Frumster - Orthodox Jewish Dating

Poor Beginning, Wealthy End
Rabbi Yisroel Ciner - 5760

Don't Forget to Say Thank You
Rabbi Pinchas Avruch - 5762

Call of the Shofar
Rabbi Yaakov Menken - 5760

Ideas for Inspiration
Rabbi Yehudah Prero - 5760



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