Thursday, February 19, 2009

Thursday's Parsha Tidbits - Parshas Mishpatim

The following is a brief summary of a thought said over by R' Frand in his shiur this evening. I have attempted to reproduce this vort to the best of my ability. Any perceived inconsistencies are the result of my efforts to transcribe the shiur and should not be attributed to R' Frand.

In Shemos 23:5, the Torah instructs that if you see the donkey of someone who you hate lying under a burden, will you refrain from helping him? You should help along with him. The end of the sentence uses the language "Azov Ta'azov Imo." The use of the verb azov is odd, as it can also mean to leave someone alone. Rashi explains that the term azov can be used in different ways and that depending on the circumstances, a person should or should not be helped.

Targum Onkelos explains the use of the term azov in a more literal manner. When a person sees someone who he hates in a bad situation and the person feels that he wants to leave his enemy to suffer, the Torah teaches that he should abandon his feelings of hatred towards that person and assist him - hence the term "Azov Ta'azov Imo."

R' Frand connected the Targum's explanation of the pasuk to a story involving R' Bunim. He said that once R' Bunim was travelling on a cold winter night and wound up at an inn. As the innkeeper was feeding R' Bunim, he started to tell him about his financial troubles. It seemed that the inn was never full and the innkeeper was having a difficult time supporting himself.

While they were talking, there was a knock at the door. The innkeeper opened the door and a beggar entered. The beggar said to the innkeeper that he could not afford to pay to stay at the inn, but just wanted to warm up by the fire. The innkeeper allowed the beggar to come in and sit by the fire. Later, the beggar told the innkeeper that he could not get warm and then asked the innkeeper for a glass of vodka to warm himself up. Again, the beggar apologized for his inability to pay, but still asked whether he could have the vodka.

The innkeeper left the beggar and went to his vodka barrel. He filled a cup with vodka and then spilled it on the floor. The innkeeper then refilled the cup and again spilled it on the floor. This was repeated a number of times before the innkeeper finally brought a cup of vodka to the beggar.

R' Bunim then said to the innkeeper - maybe the reason you are losing money is because you keep wasting your resources. The innkeeper responded that he had not been intentionally wasting the vodka. The reason that he had poured out the first cup was that when he filled it he was upset and was thinking that it was a waste to give the vodka to someone who would not pay. The second time that he filled the cup, the innkeeper again had negative thoughts about his guest - thinking to himself that he was losing money by dealing with the beggar. The innkeeper continued to pour out the vodka cups until such time as he was able to do chessed with a full heart and leave behind his ill feelings for the beggar.

If you have seen this post being carried on another site such as JBlog, please feel free to click here to find other articles on the kosherbeers blogsite. Hey its free and you can push my counter numbers up!

No comments: