Torah.org Home Subscribe Services Support Us
  LifeLine
Print Version

Email this article to a friend

Mishpatim

by Rabbi Yaakov Menken


"If you see the donkey of someone you hate struggling under its burden, shall you refrain from helping to unload it? You shall certainly unload it with him." [23:5]

The Tosfos, a major commentary on the Talmud, discusses this verse. The authors ask a simple question: why does this mitzvah focus upon someone you hate? The obvious, simple answer is that this applies even to someone you hate. But the Tosfos provides us with a far more profound reason for highlighting this particular case.

Obviously, this does not refer to someone whom you dislike as an individual. To hate your brother or sister is prohibited by the Torah, and without question any mitzvah to help would apply to any such person without being specified. What the Torah is discussing here, then, is a person whom you know engages in deliberate, evil behavior. In this case, you have an obligation to hate the evil actions, and to even demonstrate hatred towards the person doing them -- to distance yourself from evil.

The problem is that over the course of time, mitzvah hatred can easily transform itself into personal hatred. Instead of distancing myself from evil, I end up participating in the evil of gratuitous hatred.

If I demonstrate hatred because of the person's evil actions, he or she will begin to hate me as well. "Like a face reflected in the water, so is the heart of a person towards another" -- the way another person feels towards you is a reflection of the way you behave towards that person. And even if the hatred is because I have this mitzvah to hate evil, that person's hatred towards me is no mitzvah at all, but simply personal. What happens then? Even my hatred towards that person becomes personal as well. No longer a mitzvah, my behavior becomes the very opposite of what the Torah desires.

Therefore, says the Torah, we must extend ourselves to help that person when he or she is in distress. There is a limit, a boundary, to what is called a mitzvah of hatred. A vital undercurrent of love must remain!

Sponsored for the speedy healing of Aharon Yoel ben Pinyah.


 






ARTICLES ON VAYEITZEI AND CHANUKAH:

View Complete List

Hey, Looks Like Supper!
Rabbi Yisroel Ciner - 5760

Leaving... a Good Impression
Rabbi Pinchas Winston - 5760

Lighting Up the Streets
Rabbi Eliyahu Hoffmann - 5760

> It's Good For You
Rabbi Moshe Peretz Gilden - 5763

Yaakov’s Journey
Rabbi Pinchas Winston - 5769

Shared Responsibility
Rabbi Naftali Reich - 5774

Looking for a Chavrusah?

Time Study
Rabbi Raymond Beyda - 5766

Chanukah, Chutzpah, and Coming Close to G-d
Rabbi Yehudah Prero - 5757

Light From Darkness, Take Two
Rabbi Pinchas Winston - 5766

ArtScroll

A New Perspective
Shlomo Katz - 5768

My Brother, My Enemy
Rabbi Berel Wein - 5765

In All Honesty
Rabbi Dovid Green - 5761

Frumster - Orthodox Jewish Dating

Just Five More Minutes of Sleep!
Rabbi Yisroel Ciner - 5759

Our Noble Mission
Rabbi Label Lam - 5766

Can You Pass The Test?
Shlomo Katz - 5763

Majesty Resides Within!
Rabbi Label Lam - 5765



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