Pearls of Rashi – Parshas Mishpotim

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This week’s Torah portion, Shemos, is the beginning of the second book of the Torah. It begins by describing the slavery which our forefathers bore in the land of Egypt. The Parshah goes on to tell us of the birth of Moshe, who would ultimately redeem us from our Egyptian exile.

Through a series of miracles, Moshe grew up up in Paroh’s palace. When he was older, he went out to see what was going on with his fellow Jews. The Torah tells us that[1] “He went out on the second day, and behold, two Jews were fighting. Moshe said to the wicked one, ‘Why will you strike your friend?’ “

The Torah says that the one was wicked. Why was he considered evil? Because he will (in the future tense) strike his friend. Why should he be considered sinful now? He did not yet hit anyone; he merely raised his hand!

Rashi cites the words from the verse “why will you strike,” and answers this question. He writes that “Although he had not (yet) hit him, he is called wicked for raising his hand (to strike him).”

However, we need to understand this. Rashi does not explain why one is considered evil for merely raising his hand to strike his fellow. He is only telling us that this is the case.

We can explain this as follows. Hashem created each of us[2] “to serve our Creator.” From this, we understand that He created each limb, every organ of the body, to help fulfill this goal.

For example, Hashem created a hand to give to another, i.e.,[3] “a hand which distributes Tzedokoh.” However, if one does not use his hand to benefit his fellow; to the contrary, he uses it to strike his fellow, he is sinning. He is misappropriating his hand, misusing it.

In other words, the very act of lifting his hand, although he did not yet hit anyone, contradicts the very purpose for which Hashem created his hand. Therefore, the sin against Hashem begins with the act of lifting his hand.

Let us all make sure to learn from this week’s Parshah. We must use every fiber of our being to provide goodness and kindness to all of those with whom we come into contact. Then we will be sure to bring Moshiach now!

I wish one and all a good Shabbos!

Rabbi Shmuel Mendelsohn

Adapted from Likkutei Sichos Volume 31, Page 5

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 חתנו ובתו שיחיו
הרה”ת ר’ שמואל ורבקה שי’ מענדלסאהן

[1]. Our Parshah, Shemos 2:13.

[2]. See the Mishnah and Beraysoh at the end of Tractate Kiddushin.

[3]. See Tanya Chapter 23.

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