Sharing Torah Insights

“According to the Measure”

Posted on כ״ז בשבט ה׳תש״ע (February 11, 2010) | in Mishpatim | by

Mishpatim 5570 “If you take your neighbor’s garment as security, until sunset you shall return it to him, for it is his only covering; it is his garment for his skin. With what shall he lie? And it shall be [that] if he cries out to Me, I will hear because I am gracious” (Shemos 22:25-26).

The Midrash Tanchumah teaches that Hashem has extreme discontent for the individual who takes his fellow’s clothing as collateral and fails to return it at its proper time. Hashem says to such a person: “How much you owe Me! Yet your soul ascends to Me every night, gives an account, is found guilty before Me, and I return it to you. You too, take and return, take and return” (Mishpatim 9:9). The Midrash acknowledges that according to the strict line of justice a lender may take collateral to ensure that he gets repaid. It is nonetheless institutionalized that the security be returned when it is needed by its owner. Hashem accuses one who violates these laws of hypocrisy – his very existence is totally dependent on Divine mercy and yet he fails to act mercifully with his fellows. The Mishnah in Sotah (8b) describes how the Heavenly tribunal will mete out judgment to a person in equal measure to the justice meted out by that individual. He failed to hear the cries of those whom he oppressed – measure for measure Hashem will hear them and bring their oppressor to justice.
Good Shabbos!    
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