In this week’s Parshah, Kedoshim, we read that “… you shall not stand by (the shedding of) your fellow’s blood. I am Hashem.” Rashi explains that you may not stand by while “watching your fellow’s death, when you are able to save him. For example, (you may not stand idly by) if he is drowning in the river or if a wild beast or robbers come upon him.”
This means to say, that the Torah is commanding each of us to do whatever possible in order to save his fellow in a life-threatening situation. Rashi explains that this is even so if the source of the danger may possibly pose a threat to the one who is saving his fellow; i.e. a river, wild beasts or robbers. As long as, in Rashi’s words, “you are able to save him,” you must.
The Sages teach us that “Hashem created nothing in His world for naught.” One of the classic teachings of the Baal Shem Tov is that everything in this world happens by Divine providence. This means that there are no coincidences. If I see something, anything (whatever Hashem created in His world), it is actually being shown to me for a purpose. That purpose certainly has to do with my Divine service; as the Talmud teaches us that we were created in order to serve our Creator.
Based on the above, it is clear that if one happens to see another in a life-threatening situation, he is able to save him. Had he not been able to do so, it would not have been shown to him.
It is certainly uncommon for any of us (thank G-d) to see another drowning. However, there are those all around us who are drowning spiritually. We all know Jews who lack a Jewish education; who have not been brought up to live a life of Torah and Mitzvos. The fact that I see people around me drowning, means that I must, and I can save them.
May our being occupied with saving those around us from spiritual death (Chas Veshalom) bring about our salvation from our current exile. Hashem Himself fulfills all of the Mitzvos; may He “not stand by our blood,” and bring Moshiach now!
Wishing one and all a good Shabbos!
Rabbi Shmuel Mendelsohn
Adapted from Likkutei Sichos Volume 32, Page 120-125
IN LOVING MEMORY OF OUR FATHER
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
DEDICATED BY HIS FAMILY
* * *
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
. Our Parshah, Vayikroh 19:16.
. See Talmud Shabbos 77, b.
. The literal translation of the Hebrew is “(Of) everything which Hashem created in His world, He did not create (even) one thing in vain, i.e. for no purpose.”
. See Talmud Kiddushin 82, b.