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Thought for the Day: Bein Adam l'Chavreiro Bein Adam ;laMakom -- Kibud Av v'Eim

While each mitzvah is a unique entity, they also fall pretty obviously into groups.  As the Derech HaShem says, you don't really understand a topic until you understand both its parts and how its parts are arranged into the whole.  That understanding of how the parts fit into a whole give us some idea about how the mitzvos are meant to function.  Not to say, chas v'shalom, that we really understand any of the mitzvos or how they operate, but is is part of the mitzvah of talmud torah to deepen whatever understanding we can regarding how HaShem runs His world.  Moreover, it is spiritually invigorating to realize another dimension of meaning to even the most mundane actions.

One way to group mitzvos is as bein adam l'chaveiro and bein adam la'makom; between man and his fellow and between man and his Creator.  Yesterday's shalosh s'udos drush delved into how to classify the mitzvah of kibud av v'eim.   On the one hand, it seems clear as day that this is a mitzvah between man and his fellow man.  The entire mitzvah involves nothing but how to treat another human being.  On the other hand, the mitzvah of kibud av v'eim is on the bein adam la'makom lu'ach; along with knowing there is no independent transcendent (good word, no?  it means that it is it beyond human understanding and knowledge) force and keeping Shabbos holy.  So where does it fit?  And since it is on the bein adam la'makom lu'ach, why is it so steeped with bein adam l'chaveiro halachos?

The Bnei Yissaschar explains that everything is really created in a continuum; whenever you so two extremes, it means there is a something in the middle that displays both characteristics.  One of these that you will run into studying hilchos yom tov is the koy.  The koy is an animal that has some characteristics of a beheima/domestic animals (it's internal fats are forbidden, for example) and some characteristics of a chaya/wild animal (the blood from its sh'chiya needs to be covered, for example).  The first example you will run into in the Torah is right on the sixth day: man; creation that balances between the  transcendent spiritual forces and the physicality of this world.

The mitzvah of kibud av v'eim is that middle mitzvah that connect the bein adam l'chaveiro to the bein adam la'makom.  That means that every mundane, physical action of honoring one's parents; preparing food for them, helping them with life transitions, even calling them to make them a part of our busy lives... each and every act is an act of avodas HaShem; directly strengthening, broadening, and deepening our relationship with our Creator.

The rav also mentioned two other middle creations noted by the B'nei Yissaschar: between man and beast, there is the ape; between Jew and goy, there is the ger.  Hmm... that explains a lot.

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