Home Subscribe Services Support Us
Print Version

Email this article to a friend

Ki Seitzei

by Rabbi Yaakov Menken

"You may not look upon your brother's donkey or ox fallen in the roadway, and turn your eyes away from them; rather, you shall surely lift them up with him." [22:4]

We are obligated to help another person to replace a burden on top of an animal, when the latter is struggling to lift it.

The Medrash points out, however, that the verse only obligates us to help -- not replace -- the owner. It does not become our job to replace the owner while he relaxes.

One could imagine a lazy slacker walking away, saying "since you have the Mitzvah to load the animal, do your Mitzvah!" The Medrash tells us that we have no obligation in that case. The verse says "with him," excluding someone who fails to work on his own behalf.

The Chofetz Chaim, Rabbi Yisrael Meir Kagan, says that this same principle applies to spiritual matters. We need to make an effort, and then G-d Himself steps in to help us.

If a person says "guard my tongue from evil" when concluding his prayers, and then makes an effort to refrain from gossip and other evil speech, Heaven will assist him -- he will find that people stop coming to him with their gossip, trying to tempt him. But if a person merely pays lip-service (excuse the pun) to the concept, making no attempt to improve his own behavior, then how can he request Divine Intervention? He first needs to try to uplift himself, and then G-d will help him to rise.

Similarly, our morning prayers read, "open our eyes [to understand] your Torah." If we don't sit down to study, then how can this prayer be realized?

The Chofetz Chaim offers the following parable: imagine someone asking a friend for a loan. The second man agrees, and asks the borrower to please visit him at home to receive the money he needs. If the borrower is lazy and never goes, then can he be upset at the lender's failure to fulfill his pledge?

Similarly, we ask G-d to help us to grow and to come closer to Him. We ask him for Torah knowledge. G-d listens! And He answers, "your request is good. Now take out a book, and I will enlighten you." If we run out the door instead, and never bother to sit down to learn, what do we expect?

The Talmud says [Tractate Makkos 10b], "in the path that a person wants to go, they guide him." We first need to demonstrate that we want to go in that direction!

Good Shabbos,
Rabbi Yaakov Menken

Text Copyright © 2002 Project Genesis, Inc.

The author is the Director of Project Genesis.



View Complete List

Rabbi Pinchas Winston - 5775

Join the Dots
Rabbi Pinchas Winston - 5766

Man was Created for Toil
Rabbi Berel Wein - 5770

Frumster - Orthodox Jewish Dating

The Greatest Miracle of all Times
Rabbi Pinchas Winston - 5772

Just Passing Through
Rabbi Yisroel Ciner - 5758

When Transparency Counts
Rabbi Naftali Reich - 5773

> Thanks for What?
Shlomo Katz - 5774

Who Are We Trying To Fool?
Rabbi Label Lam - 5765

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

Looking for a Chavrusah?

Festival of The Reflecting Lights
Rabbi Naftali Reich - 5773

Our Noble Mission
Rabbi Label Lam - 5766

Transition and Leadership
Rabbi Aron Tendler - 5763


Shehechiyanu in Bergen Belsen
Rabbi Yissocher Frand - 5756

Take 'Car'e of Yourself
Rabbi Eliyahu Hoffmann - 5761

Growing Forever
Rabbi Label Lam - 5771

The Yetzer HaTov Is Not A Noodnik
Rabbi Yissocher Frand - 5767

Project Genesis Home

Torah Portion

Jewish Law



Learn the Basics




Ask The Rabbi

Knowledge Base


About Us

Contact Us

Free Book on Geulah! Home Copyright Information