Pearls of Rashi – Kedoshim

This week we read the Torah portion of Kedoshim. It begins with G-d telling Moshe to tell all of the Jews that[1] “You shall be holy, for I, Hashem am holy.” Rashi tells us that “most of the fundamental teachings of the Torah depend on this,” meaning that they are encapsulated in this verse.” It therefore comes as no surprise that it contains such a large percentage of the Mitzvos, 51 of the 613 Mitzvos[2].

One of these Mitzvos in our Parshah is the very well known commandment[3]; “… You shall not place a stumbling block before a blind person …” Seemingly Rashi does not explain this according to the simple explanation, that it is prohibited to place an unexpected object in front of a blind person in order to trip him[4], but rather he says as follows. You may not give bad advice to someone who is “’blind’ regarding a certain matter. Do not offer advice which is improper for him. Do not say to someone, ‘Sell your field and buy a donkey (with the proceeds),’ while you actually plan to cheat him; you yourself plan to take it from him[5].”

The commentaries of the Midrash give different examples of “giving bad advice to someone who is ‘blind’ regarding a certain matter[6].” It suggests that one must not tell someone to get up early in order to get a head-start on his journey; while his intention is that his fellow lose his money to thieves. Likewise, one must not tell his fellow to wait until the afternoon to leave on his trip; while his intention is that he be harmed by the sun. Why does Rashi not use one of these examples?

The explanation is, that in both of these examples, the entire objective is to cause damage; either that his fellow lose his money, or is harmed by the afternoon Sun. The Torah has already prohibited this; for example, by commanding us not to dig a pit in a public place. Rashi’s example will not necessarily cause damage; perhaps the fellow needs a donkey more than he needs a field.

Our Parshah also teaches us to “love your fellow as yourself.” As a result of having unconditional love for each other, may we merit Moshiach now!

Wishing one and all a good Shabbos and a healthy summer!

Rabbi Shmuel Mendelsohn

Adapted from Likkutei Sichos Volume 27, Page 141

Mr. Sholom Moshe Hacohen
ben Reb Shlomo Meir Hacohen ע”ה Cohen
Passed away Shabbos Parshas Beshalach, 13 Shevat, 5779
May His Soul be bound in the Eternal Bond of Life
* * *
לעילוי נשמת
ר’ שלום משה הכהן בן ר’ שלמה מאיר הכהן ע”ה כהן
נפטר ש”ק פ’ בשלח, י”ג שבט, ה’תשע”ט
ת. נ. צ. ב. ה.
יו”ל ע”י בני משפחתו שיחיו

[1]. Our Parshah, Vayikroh 19:2.

[2]. This number is according to the Rambam. According to other authorities the number may vary.

[3]. Our Parshah, Vayikroh 19:14.

[4]. We shall discuss the reason for this on another occasion.

[5]. Rashi’s source is from the Toras Kohanim 19, 34.

[6]. See the Korbon Aharon’s commentary to the Midrash, ibid.

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