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From
Simcha Groffman

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Kinder Torah
For parents to share with children at the Shabbos Table

Parashas Ki Seitze

Watch Your Step

"It's your fault!"

"No it is not. You should have been more careful."

"What's going on here? What are you two arguing about?"

"Do you see this box of broken pottery? He has to pay for it."

"Why?"

"We were walking along, he was first, and I was behind him. Suddenly, he tripped and fell down. I tripped over him and fell. I dropped this box of pottery that I was holding and everything broke. Now he must pay for it. If he hadn't fallen first, I would not have tripped over him."

"You are responsible for your own falling. You should have watched where you were going. I don't have to pay for anything."

The question is:

Who pays for the broken pottery and why?

The answer is:

This case is discussed in the Gemora (Bava Kamma 31a).

The Mishna itself rules that the first man who fell must pay for the damages to the second man who tripped over him. The question is why?

1) Rebbe Meir holds the first man responsible for tripping and falling. People have a responsibility to not fall when they are walking.

2) Rebbe Yochanan says that even if the first man is not held responsible for falling, he is held responsible for not getting up out of the way in time. He waited too long on the ground.

3) Rav Nachman Bar Yitzchak says that even if he did not have enough time to get up, he should have warned the second man that he had fallen. Rebbe Yochanan's response to that is that if he did not have enough time to get up, he could not have warned the second man because he was too busy recovering from the fall.

The Mechaber in Shulchan Aruch Choshen Mishpat 413:1 rules like Rebbe Yochanan, that if the first man did have the time to get up, and he did not, then he is responsible. If he did not have the time to get up, then he is not responsible for warning the man behind him.

The Rema writes that some say that he is responsible for warning if he had the time to warn.

However, both the Mechaber and the Rema agree that all of this only applies to bodily damages. We learn from a verse in the Torah that damages of this sort on the property of the second man are exempt from payment.

This puzzle and answer is for learning and discussion purposes only. Do not rely upon it for psak halacha! Consult a Rav to determine the correct halachic ruling.

Win the War

"Class, let us begin our study of the Parashas Ha'shavuah. "When you go out to war against your enemy" (Devarim 21:10). The verse is referring to a war against a flesh and blood enemy, who tries to maim our bodies. He is very threatening. Yet there is another enemy who is far more dangerous. Who is he?" "The Yetzer Hara (Evil Inclination)."

"Correct, Chaim. This week's parasha has more mitzvos than any other parasha in the Torah: 74 to be exact. Mitzvos are our weapons against the Yetzer Hara. He tries to destroy our soul, which is far more harmful than any injury to our body. He tells us, 'Put your own interests first. Do not think about anyone else. Use people and hurt them if you please. It is all okay if you get what you want.'"

"What can we do to fight him?"

"The Torah leads the battle. Love other people. Chessed (kindness) is everywhere. There are so many ways to help people and even animals. The Torah gives us a wealth of mitzvos of chessed. Let us look for them in the parasha. Whom must we help?"

"Widows, orphans, and converts. We must give them shichacha (forgotten bundles of grain) from our field and ollilos (forgotten clusters) from our vineyards (Devarim 24:19-21). Also, Beis Din must take extra care to judge them fairly (24:17)."

"That is a fair answer, Yitzy. Anyone else?"

"People who need to borrow money. Do not charge them ribbis [interest] (23:20). Do not take a person's working tools as a mashkon (object of value given as a loan security) (24:6). Do not go into a borrower's home to take a mashkon (24:10,11). Do not take a poor person's mashkon if he needs it during the day or night. Rather, return it to him when he needs it, and take it the rest of the day (24:12,13). The Torah promises a blessing for this mitzvah. Do not take a widow's clothing as a loan security (24:17)."

"You have discovered a gold mine, Avi. A veritable fortune of mitzvos."

"We must be kind to our employees. Our fruit picker must be allowed to eat while he is working (23:25). Do not withhold a worker's wages (24:14). Pay him on the day that he finishes the work (24:15)."

"You will be a great boss, Moishie."

"Customers and suppliers. We are warned not to cheat our business associates by having two sets of weights and measures - a heavy one for buying merchandise, and a light one for selling. This sin is called an abomination (25:13-16)."

"Accurately put, Aaron."

"People who lost possessions. We must return lost objects to their rightful owners (22:1-3)."

"Excellent Shimi."

"We have to be kind to animals by readjusting their heavy load (22:4). We should have compassion on the mother bird by sending her away before taking her young (22:6-7). We cannot plow with an ox and a donkey together (22:10). We may not muzzle an ox while he is threshing [working with food] (25:4)."

"Animals require compassion, Doni. Even more so human beings."

"We must even have mercy on executed criminals and bury them on the day that they are killed (21:22-23)."

"That is how far the Torah teaches compassion, Yerachmiel. You have all given wonderful answers. Now, let us get down to business and begin studying these mitzvos. We are going to win this war."

Kinderlach . . .

We have many weapons to fight the war against the Yetzer Hara. Each mitzvah gives him a "clop". In our parasha we have a wealth of mitzvos of chessed, to fight the Yetzer Hara of selfishness and self-centeredness. Choose your weapons, kinderlach. Learn the mitzvos and their laws well. Practice using your arsenal at every opportunity. Then go out and fight the enemy. With Hashem's help, you will win the battle.

Kinder Torah Copyright 2013 All rights reserved to the author Simcha Groffman


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