Monday, May 14, 2012

The Wounds of our Words

Parshat BeHar – Be’Chukotai
Vayikra 25:1 – 27:34

27 Iyar 5772 / May 18-19, 2012

The Wounds of our Words
by Taras “Izzy” Prokopenko, MH Gomel

These two weekly portions are overflowing with interesting laws and commandments; I would like to talk about two of them- “ona’at mammon” (a prohibition of over-estimation of a price) and “ona’at d’varim” (a prohibition of offending another Jew). 

“And when you make a sale to your fellow Jew or make a purchase from the hand of your fellow Jew, you shall not wrong one another.”  and “And you shall not wrong, one man his fellow Jew, and you shall fear your God, for I am the Lord, your God.” (Vaikrah, 25:14, 25:17)

Both of these laws protect us from the danger of offending people- both financially and spiritually.
But the spiritual injury is considered to be more harmful - because the stolen money could be turned back and compensated, the wrong calculation can be recounted and changed to the correct one, but “heart wounds” are hard to cure.

I want to share one of my favorite stories with you:

One day a Jew came to Rabbi and said:

“Rabbi, I need Your help. I had a quarrel with my brother yesterday, you know, I am a fiery person, and I talked too much and, I guess, he was deeply offended. This morning I woke up with a strong feeling that I was not right in this quarrel, so I turned to him with apologies, but he even didn’t want to listen to me! What is his problem! It was a hard task for me to talk to him and to admit, that I am not right. He should forgive me!”

The Rabbi answered: “You know, my dear, I need your help first. Here are 20 big nails and a hammer. Please, go outdoors, there is a big tree right in front of you, be so kind and batter these nails into this tree!”
The shocked student went out and returned 10 minutes later.

“I see you have finished the task, thank you! And now, my dear, please, go back and take these nails off the tree and bring me them back!”- asked the Rabbi. He refused to answer any questions, and this man had to go out and to complete the task.

When he returned with the nails, the Rabbi began to explain:

“You see, my dear, your words are like these nails - they may hurt a tree - another person - and stay in his heart. Sure, you can apologize - and to take off these nails. Perhaps, it would be not an easy task. And it may seem to you that everything turned back to its previous state. But, please, let’s go out now, and see the wounds and holes on the body of the tree, left after your nails, that will need so much time to cure!”

And I would like to wish you, my dear Moisheniks, much powers not to offend people, making your business and earning your money, and, for sure, be careful and not to hurt your friends and relatives!

Have a nice week,
With warm regards from Gomel,
Taras Izzy Prokopenko and MoHoGo team


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