Make a Fixed Time for Study

עשה תורתך קבע – אמור מעט ועשה הרבה

Two Verses – Unlimited Questions

Posted by rabbiart on February 12, 2010

We are focused on two verses from the sedrah – Shmot 23:4-5. As mentioned in the prior post, the verses translate as

4. If you come upon your enemy’s bull or his stray donkey, you shall surely return it to him. 5. If you see your hater’s donkey lying under its burden would you refrain from helping him? You shall surely return it to him.

There is a host of questions that we might ask about these verses.

1. Should the first word – ki – be translated as “if” or “when”?  What would be the difference?

2. How should we translate the words oyvecha and son-a’acha?  Are they the same or different?

3. What is (not the translation but) the definition of each of these words? Who is included or intended by each word?

4. Do these words create one mitzvah or two?  If two, what would each be?
5. What’s the “real point” of this mitzvah?

6. Is there a deliberate allusion to the “original sin” in the Torah? (The worlds’ first murder, that is.).  Check out Breshit 4:7.

7. What observations about human nature are bundled into these two verses? Does the latter part of verse 5 suggest that we have the natural tendency to be helpful, but when an enemy or a hater is involved we stop ourselves from being helpful?

We can – if we choose – learn some crucial lessons from studying these verses. Taken seriously and applied broadly, they have the potential to completely transform the way we move through the world.

Think about it.

Shabbat Shalom


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: