Thursday, May 12, 2016

Honesty

In this week's parsha, Kedoshim, we find the mitzvah of making and keeping honest measuring tools, whether they are for measuring weight, dry measure, or liquid, they need to be accurate. It is forbidden to make or have in your possession inaccurate measuring tools, even if you have no intention to use them.

While with many mitzvas, Hashem signs off with "I Am Hashem," or "I Am Hashem your God." After this mitzvah, Hashem signs off with, "I Am Hashem your God who took you out of Egypt."

What is the connection, between honest weights and measures, and the exodus from Egypt? Why is it a sin to merely own them, even if you have no intention to use them?

The simple answer brought by Rashi, that it is for this reason, that Hashem took us out of Egypt, to be a paragon of honesty in business dealings. Also, just like Hashem could discern in Egypt, who is a first born and who is not, so can He discern if someone falsifies his weights, to be dishonest in business.

But there is a deeper reason. This is the way of the evil inclination, he doesn't tell you to steal or rob another. You would never go for that. First he says, "what is so bad to own these false weights, your not even going to use them." Then he goes a step further. "What is the big deal using them, they are just a drop off. It is not a big deal." And step by step he drags you down until he's made a thief out of you.

Owning false weights and measures are the first steps. It is the beginning of dishonesty, though no action was done with them, they represent ill intent and bad choices, which is the prelude to dishonesty.

This is where Egypt comes in. Though Hashem decreed that the Jewish people would suffer by the hands of the Egyptians, each individual Egyptian had the freedom to choose not to. It was their ill intent and bad choices that brought them to oppress the Jewish people. The Jewish people would have been oppressed with out their involvement, because it was Hashem's decree. It was their evil intention and bad choices that got them involved and ultimately punished, etc.

It all begins with ill intent and bad choices. For example, choosing bad friends, purchasing inappropriate clothing, etc.

Hashem is saying, I took you out of Egypt, the place of ill intentions and bad choices. I want you to be better than them. I want you to be a beacon of goodness and honesty. That is why I took you out of Egypt. And honesty is the starting point for all the mitzvahs, and what defines us as Hashem's people.

To dispel dishonesty, first we need to dispel ill intent and bad choices. Get rid of self acquired bad influences, and temptations. You will find it freeing, like a weight being removed from your shoulders. And finally, being honest in business and with your acquaintances, is the way you influence them to want to be more like you, and to follow in Hashem's ways.

One more thing, by connecting honesty with the exodus from Egypt Hashem gives us a clear indication, that honesty is a prerequisite to bringing the future redemption. May it come soon.
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Dedicated to the memory of Rabbi Moshe Muller, a good friend, who passed away this week. May his family be consoled. To help the Muller family  https://www.youcaring.com/the-muller-family-567418

4 comments:

  1. This is beautiful!! My school is going on a shabboton and I will iyh be saying it over!! Rabbi and Mrs. Hurowitz, you keep on inspiring me daily!! Thank you

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  2. This is a beautiful and typically well written commentary filled with practical advice. May we always be Zoche to shine with out honesty and good middos in dealing with others in every setting. We strive to emulate you Rabbi Hurwitz and your dear wife and family who shine as a beacon of light for all Klal Yisroel. Thank you very much.

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  3. Correction
    May we always be able to shine WITH OUR honesty and good middos, etc. ****

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  4. Beautiful, well-written commentary. Thank you Rabbi Yitzy! You make Torah so alive & applicable to our lives - today. Thank you!

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