Thursday, April 18, 2013

Thursday's Parsha Tidbits - Parshios Acharei Mos - Kedoshim

The following is a brief summary of thoughts said over by R' Frand on the parshios this evening. I have attempted to reproduce these vorts to the best of my ability. Any perceived inconsistency is the result of my efforts to transcribe the shiur and should not be attributed to R' Frand. 

R Frand stated that Parshas Kedoshim has the famous pasuk - v'ahavta l'reiacha camocha (Vayikra 19:18) which the Ramban teaches that a Jew should treat every other Jew as if he loves him. R' Frand noted that it is ironic that while R' Akiva's famous phrase was vh'ahavta l'reiacha camocha zeh klal gadol baTorah, 24,000 of his students died because they did not show respect for one and other. 

R' Frand quoted the Chofetz Chaim who asked - why is it that the lack of respect was worthy of the death penalty? The Chofetz Chaim answers that the disputes were public and this created a chillul Hashem. While arguing and berating one and other is problematic, it is not a capital crime. But creating a chillul Hashem through a very public argument is a greater problem.

R' Frand next quoted the pasuk - Btzedek Tishpot Es Amisecha (Vayikra 19:15)- when seeing someone do wrong, give them the benefit of the doubt. R' Frand quoted a gemara in Shabbos which states that if a person gives another the benefit of the doubt, Hashem will give him the benefit of the doubt. The gemara continues by telling a story of a man who worked for another man for three years and on the eve of Yom Kippur he asked for payment. The master said I have no money. The worker then asked for fruit and was told he had none. The worker asked for real estate and was again told there was none. The worker asked for linens and was told there were none. So the worker went home. 

After the holidays, the employer came to the worker with donkeys laden with riches. The employer said to him, what were you thinking? The employee responded - I thought your capital was tied up in a deal. And the gemara continues and the employee responded each time with the equivalent of - I gave you the benefit of the doubt. At the end of the conversation, the employer said - you are correct and properly gave me the benefit of the doubt. The employer then said - the same way that you gave me the benefit of the doubt, so should Hashem give you the benefit of the doubt. 

R' Frand asked - I understand how a person can judge another by giving him the benefit of the doubt, but I don't know how Hashem can do the same. If a person sees another person driving on Shabbos, he can give him the benefit of the doubt and assume that there is a medical emergency. But Hashem knows all, so how does He give the benefit of the doubt? 

R' Frand answered by quoting the Ba'al Shem Tov who notes that the Mishna in Pirkei Avos (1:6) states that one should judge Kol HaAdam for the benefit of the doubt. He explains that this means that a person should judge a person both based on his action and his history before drawing his conclusion. R' Frand concluded this portion of the vort by stating that the Kol HaAdam is the standard that we want Hashem to apply to us. Hashem knows the reason that we act, but He should take into account our motivation and our history when judging us. 

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