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Thought for the Day: Getting Even the Torah Way

When I first started learning Hebrew, a very good friend of mine gave me his amazing Hebrew-English dictionary; thank you, Zvi!  Actually, Zvi gave me the whole three volume set -- two English-Hebrew volumes (still look brand new) and the one Hebrew-English (falling apart from use and re-use).  It is modern Hebrew, but I have rarely found that to be a issue.  To the contrary, since it is a scholarly work, it often gives several meanings to capture the right connotation.  One of the words that has an "interesting" definition is "ina" (aleph-nun-hei); it means to cause to happen or to cheat.  I normally wouldn't put those words together, but it is explained beautifully by the Tootsie Roll Pop (which, Chasdei HaShem ki lo samnu, are now kosher) company in the scholarly owl's response to the innocent child's question as to how many licks does it take to get to the tootsie roll center.  Quoth the owl, "Th'rrree".

L'havdil, elef havdalos, the depth of this concept is expressed by Chazal and quoted by Rashi in parshas mishpatim, regarding the following pasuk (Sh'mos 21:12/13):
If a man hits another man and he dies, he shall be put to death.  However, if he didn't ambush him and Elokim caused it (ina) to come it into his hands, I (HaShem) have set for you a place for him to flee.
Say Chazal, suppose one person murders and there are no witnesses present, and another accidentally (but due to recklessness) kills someone; again with no witnesses.  HaShem then arranges for the two of them to be at an Inn, the accidental killer will climb a ladder and fall on the murder, killing him; this time all in front of witnesses.  The murder has been executed and the killer is sent to galus.  HaShem evened things up by, so to speak, cheating.  Where's the cheat?  This can't be a regular case of free will actions, because then the accidental killer would simply be getting his just punishment, not evening the score at all.  Moreover, it is ludicrous to suggest that everyone who gets killed by, saw, a drunk driver, is actually a murderer who is getting his just desserts.  No; this whole scenario was a setup for HaShem to get what He wanted.  That's cheating.  But... it is His ball and His court, so deal with it.

It did get me thinking, though.  Killing someone is a big deal.  Setting it up to look like an accident is complex and fraught with potential for missteps; as can be seen from any of the myriad of murder mystery novels littering the shelves of libraries and homes all over the world.  If HaShem is willing to expend that kind of effort (ameilus) to make things fair, then certainly smaller crimes are being rectified all the time.  That is so cool, because it means I never have to worry about getting even again!  HaShem is taking care of it!

Maybe that's why n'kama (revenge) and even n'tira (holding a grudge) is a Torah prohibition...


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