Parashas Acharei Mos/Kedoshim
Parashas Acharei Mos/Kedoshim
Satisfy Your Soul
"What do you think of this wheat field?"
"It is absolutely magnificent. Just look at the acres and acres of golden stalks waving in the wind. What could be more beautiful?"
"You're right. Who owns this field?"
"A very wealthy man. He owns several fields in this area. If we walk a short distance up the road, we can see another one of his fields."
"I would love to but I am very weak. I don't know if I can make it."
"Oy vey. Are you sick?"
"No, just hungry. I have fallen on hard times and I just do not have enough food to feed myself and my family."
"Oy va voy. That is terrible. Come, I will help you walk. Let's go see that other field."
The two men slowly make their way up the road. They reach the other field and find it full of workers, busily cutting down the wheat.
"Look, our wealthy friend is harvesting his crop."
"Yes, he has enough wheat to feed many people this winter."
"My stomach hurts from hunger."
The workers see the two men standing near the fence. They can tell that they are poor and hungry. They approach the onlookers.
"They are coming toward us. I hope they do not chase us away. I do not have the strength to run."
"You men may come in to the field. We have finished our work for the day. We have left the peyos (corners) of the field uncut, as per the owner's instructions. Come and take what you like. Help yourselves to any wheat that was forgotten or left behind."
The two poor men are ecstatic. This is a dream come true.
"The owner is a very kind man."
"Yes. He observes Hashem's commandments scrupulously. The mitzvos of leket - leaving behind wheat that has fallen, shichecha - leaving behind wheat that has been forgotten, and peah - leaving the corners of the field unharvested, are mentioned in parashas Kedoshim. You are the benefactors of his observance of these mitzvos."
"We appreciate it more than words can express."
"The owner of this field also benefits from leket, shochacha, and peah."
"Really? In what way? He is losing money by giving us some of his grain."
"Yes, but he is gaining much more. The Sefer HaChinuch (mitzvah 216) explains that a person who trains himself to give from his parnassa (livelihood) to needy people will develop the good middah of satisfaction. He will be happy and satisfied with everything that Hashem has given him."
"How does that work?"
"A greedy person wants only to take for himself. He does not trust that Hashem will always provide for him, therefore he wants everything now. He will never be satisfied, because he thinks that he never has enough."
"Contrast this with one who follows Hashem's commandments to provide for the needy. He gives away part of his parnassa; the very thing that he thinks is his. He is acknowledging that it is all from Hashem. If it comes from The Almighty, it must be perfectly suited for him. Therefore he is satisfied because he is getting exactly what he needs."
"You are right. The owner of this field is gaining much more than he is giving. He has acquired satisfaction, one of the most precious commodities on the face of this earth."
"May he continue to be satisfied by giving to others and fulfilling Hashem's wishes."
Kinderlach . . .
Listen to how people talk. Do they speak about what they are lacking? Are they satisfied? Satisfaction is a quality that must be acquired. It takes work. The Sefer HaChinuch gives us the key. Give to others who need. Realize how much you have. Know that it is all from Hashem. Appreciate that He is taking care of you. He loves you and provides for you. Feel the deep satisfaction of being loved by The Almighty.
It's All Stealing
"Please come in. Make yourself comfortable. Can I get you something to drink?"
"No thank you. I am quite comfortable. I must compliment you on your home. It is beautiful."
"Thank you very much. It is freshly painted."
"I see. The paint job is outstanding. Do you mind if I ask you how much it cost?"
"I don't mind at all. It was free."
"What??? Free??? This job is worth at least two thousand dollars. How did you get it for free?"
"Very simple. You can do it too. Find yourself a painter who is a real nice person. Mild mannered. Have him paint your house. When he finishes, he will come to collect his money. Tell him to come back tomorrow and you will pay him then. When he comes back, make up another excuse why you cannot pay him and tell him to come back. Keep doing this and eventually he will give up. And so, you will get your paint job for free."
"Stealing? Why is it stealing? I did not point a gun to his head and tell him to empty his pockets. I did not break into his house at night and steal his gold jewelry."
"True. However, you withheld money that you owed him for his honest, hard work. That is called 'oshek' (Vayikra 19:13). The gemora (Bava Metziah 111a) relates that 'oshek' is stealing."
"But there is a different mitzvah warning us not to steal."
"Correct. There are three separate mitzvos. Gezel - robbery by force, genayva - stealthily stealing, and oshek - stealing by withholding money owed. They all refer to taking what is not yours."
"Why did the Torah write the same sin three different ways?"
"The Sefer HaChinuch explains that Hashem wants us to keep very far away from this terrible sin. Therefore, He warned us these three times. He also wants to give triple the reward to someone who refrains from stealing in all of its forms."
"Can you excuse me for a moment?"
"Surely. Where are you going?"
"To call the painter. I am going to give him his hard earned money, and beg him for forgiveness."
Kinderlach . . .
Stealing is horrible. It can take many forms. Not paying money that you owe is 'oshek', a type of stealing. This sin is so bad that the Torah wrote three warnings against it. Warning! Danger Ahead! Stay Far Away! Don't Steal!
Who takes the seir l'azazel to the desert? (16:21)
Give example of fearing parents. Honoring parents. (Rashi 19:3)
Which parts of the field and harvest must one leave for the poor people? (19:9-10)
Give two explanations of, "Judge your fellow man righteously". (19:14 and Rashi)
Give an example of taking revenge. Bearing a grudge. (Rashi 19:18)
What is the penalty for cursing ones parents? (20:9)
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