QUICKIE/FUNFACT: The Torah commands to leave the corners of our fields for the poor. (19:9) Why does it begin the command in plural (U'VIKUTZRECHEM - WHEN YOU HARVEST) and then switch to the singular (LO TICHALEH - DO NOT COMPLETE)?
The Ohr HaChayim answers that the Torah switches to singular to teach that even if it is just one person who has a field and it will provide the poor with very little to eat, the mitzvah still applies.
- Courtesy of Rabbi Dov Lipman
Vayikra 19:17 “Lo Sisna Es Achicha Bilvavecha Hochiach Tochiach Es Amisecha, V’Lo Tisa Alav Cheit”
“You shall not hate your brother in your heart; you shall reprove your fellow and do not bare a sin because of him.”
Much ink has been used in discussing the parameters of the positive Commandment of, “Hochiach Tochiach Es Amisecha – admonish your fellow.” From the context of this Pasuk it seems that if one sees his fellow going astray, he must rebuke him for doing so. The obligation of tochachah is to communicate to one’s fellow the wrong of the past or to inform him of the inappropriateness of the action so that he should not transgress this commandment in the future.
Many Rabbinic authorities are troubled by the following question. It seems to make perfect sense to “reprove your fellow” but what does the end of the verse mean, “and do not bare a sin because of him?”
Rashi on this pasuk suggests that the end of Pasuk is telling us that when one is delivering mussar to his friend he should do it in a manner which doesn’t embarrass him. If you do embarrass your friend then you will bare a sin because of your friend’s original mishap.
The Ramban however takes a different approach at understanding the end of the posuk. He is of the opinion that the only way that you will bare a sin is if you continue to allow your friend to partake in inappropriate activities. If you do allow him to continue then your friend’s bad deeds become your bad deeds.
After analyzing both Rashi and the Ramban’s pshat on this pasuk, The Radansker Rebbe offers a different explanation. The Gemara in Brachos (55b) says that dreams comes true based on how they are interpreted. If it is interpreted with a positive spin, then the outcome will be good. If however, the interpretation comes out of one’s mouth with a negative connotation then the outcome will be harmful.
Similarly in Mishna 1:6 in Pirkei Avos the author says that when dealing with one’s friends it is virtuous to be “dan likaf zechus” “give them the benefit of the doubt.” The reason for this is because when you judge them kindly and appropriately then he is given a positive administering angel in heaven that will advocate positively on their behalf. If you judge them negatively however, then you will be forcing a negative angel on your friend which ultimately will lead to your friend’s demise. The Radansker makes it clear that the same is true in our pasuk of “Hochiach Tochiach Es Amisecha Vlo Sisa Alav Cheit.” When you give mussar to your friend you should make sure not to mention the sin which your friend just partook in because then that will give them a negative angel. We must report positively when speaking to others. Thus helping them by not only placing them on the path of teshuva with a clean slate.
* This week's Dvar Torah was told to me by my night seder Chavrusa, Effie.