Thursday, March 6, 2014

Thursday's Parsha Tidbits - Parshas Vayikra

The following is a brief summary of some of the thoughts said over by R' Frand on the parsha 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. 

In Vayikra  5:21, the Torah states that if a person will sin "U'maala ma'al b'Hashem" (translated by Art Scroll as "commit a treachery against Hashem") by doing various acts including denying that a person entrusted him to watch a possession for him.

R' Frand asked - why is this a slight to Hashem? As mitzvos can be divided into categories of those between man and G-d, or man and his fellow man, it would seem clear that this is a mitzva that is between man and his fellow man. So why is this a "treachery against Hashem?"

R' Frand answered the question by quoting a Rashi (who in turn quotes Toras Kohanim) which explains that in general when a person loans money to another person, he writes a loan document. Similarly, when business is transacted or money is invested there is usually a document or at the very least, witnesses. 

However, when a person asks his neighbor to do him a favor and watch something for him, there is no document or witness. Indeed, it would be impractical and possibly offensive to say to the neighbor - while you are doing me the favor of watching my valuables, could you please sign a document which verifies that I gave them to you to watch?

But there is a third entity involved when a person entrusts an item to a friend for safekeeping. Hashem is watching and knows that the item has been left with the guardian. When the custodian later denies that the item was given to him, the guardian is not only rejecting his friend, he is also denying that Hashem saw the act as well.

R' Frand next quoted a mishna in Pirkei Avos wherein R' Gamliel says that the world stands on three things - judgment, truth and peace. R' Frand learned the mishna to mean that peace in the world depends on a joinder of truth and judgment.

R' Frand then quoted Rav (unclear who specifically he was referring to) who explains that the world can only exist if there is trust between men. There is simply no possibility that each action can be witnessed by neutrals. As such, when a person leaves an item with another person to watch, he puts his trust in that person. But if that person lies and disputes that the item was given to him, the amount of trust in the world is diminished.

R' Frand also injected a personal story. He said that a few years ago he was driving in Baltimore when he attempted to change lanes and hit another car which had been in his blind spot. There was some damage to the other car and R' Frand told the driver that he would take care of it. The man took his car to the dealer who quoted a price of $5,000 to fix the damage. R' Frand suggested a reputable body shop and their quote was $3,000. The man had the car repaired there and R' Frand paid the invoice. A few weeks later, R' Frand received a letter in the mail from the man who thanked him for "restoring his faith in man."

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