Skip to main content

Thought for the Day: As Bad As a Thief and Robber Are... There Is Redemption

The Torah is much kinder to r'shaim that have an understandable reason for their evil doings.  As Shlomo HaMelech tells us (Mishlei, 6; y own so free translation, as if you couldn't tell...):
ל:  לֹא-יָבוּזוּ לַגַּנָּב, כִּי יִגְנוֹב--    לְמַלֵּא נַפְשׁוֹ, כִּי יִרְעָב
לא: וְנִמְצָא, יְשַׁלֵּם שִׁבְעָתָיִם:    אֶת-כָּל-הוֹן בֵּיתוֹ יִתֵּן.
30: Do not despise the thief; he steals to fill his soul, which is hungry.
31: When found he will repay sevenfold; his entire fortune may need to give.
The G"ra explains both why the Torah does not want you to despise someone for stealing.  A person only steals for one of two reasons.  One, he does not have enough to eat; his life is at stake.  That does not excuse the stealing, but it makes it understandable.  The second reason is because he wants something that he doesn't have; he needs it.  As noted, halacha even allows burial to be delayed in case the grave diggers are hungry for chameitz on erev Pesach and they would not be able to have that chameitz if they bury the meis first.  Again, therefore, the real needs of the thief, even though they do not justify stealing, they make it understandable.

The G"ra further explains the "sevenfold" repayment.  There are seven kinds of thievery: (1) admitting the theft and returning the item (or its value); (2) not admitting the theft and having to pay double; (3) stealing a ram and slaughtering or selling it (repayment times four); (4) stealing an ox and slaughtering or selling it (repayment times five); (5) stealing an item entrusted to the thief; (6) stealing from a trustee; (7) kidnapping.

Another way of counting that G"ra uses to explain the שִׁבְעָתָיִם/"sevenfold" (a sort of doubling) is: repayment of 4 or 5 -- that's 9; add keifel (double payment as fine) -- that's 11; there are three ways to repay the principle: the item itself, the value of the item, selling one's self into indentured servitude to get the money to repay the victim -- that's another three; which all adds up to 14.

Finally, a thief might indeed need to give up his entire fortune, which actually means his portion in olam habah (the only real fortune any of us have, by they way).  If that happens, he'll need to come back as a gilgul to create another portion for himself.  Not great, but at least there is a chance.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Thought for the Day: Using a Mitzvah Object for Non-Mitzvah Purposes

As I am -- Baruch HaShem -- getting older, I am more cognizant of the fact that I'd like to stay as healthy as possible right up the moment I leave this world.  Stuff hurting is not the problem (I am told there is an old Russian saying that once you are 40, if you wake up and nothing hurts -- you're dead), stuff not working, however, is a problem.  To that end, for several years now I commute to work by bicycle (weather permitting, 30 minutes on an elliptical machine when weather does not permit).  I recently took up some upper body weight training.  Not because I want to be governor of California, just simply to slow down loss of bone mass and extend my body's healthy span.  Simple hishtadlus.  I have an 18 month old grandson who is just the right weight for arm curls (yes... I am that weak), so I do about 10 reps when I greet him at night.  He laughs, I get my exercise; all good.  (Main problem is explaining to the older ones why zeidy can't give them the same "…

Thought for the Day: Thanking HaShem Each and Every Day for Solid Land Near Water

Each and every morning, a Jew is supposed to view himself as a new/renewed creation, ready for a new day of building his eternal self through Torah and mitzvos.  We begin the day with 16 brachos to praise/thank/acknowledge HaShem for giving us all the tools we need to succeed.  We have a body, soul, and intellect.  We have vision, mobility, and protection from the elements.  Among those brachos, we have one that perhaps seems a bit out of place: רוקע הארץ על המים/Who spreads out the land on/over the water.  After all, it's nice to have a dry place to walk, but does that compare to the gratitude I have for a working body and vision?  As it turns out, I should; as explained by the R' Rajchenbach, rosh kollel of Kollel Zichron Eliyahu (aka, Peterson Park Kollel).  Your best bet is to listen to the shiur; very distant second is to continue, which I hope will whet your appetite for the real thing.

First... since we have dry land, I don't have to slog to work through even a foot…

Thought for the Day: Hydroponically Grown Humans... I Feel Sick

I am quite openly not at all objective about abortion in particular and the treatment of human embryos and fetuses in general.  I am, after all, the survivor of a failed abortion attempt.  Not "thought about it, but couldn't go through with it"; not "made appointment, but then chickened out at the lost moment"; but, "tried a procedure, but was unsuccessful in attempt to abort".  Nonetheless, I try very hard to listen to the liberal arguments (which I also used to chant as part of the general liberal catechism), and am genuinely empathetic to the plight of women who find themselves in that difficult position.

What I heard on NPR this morning, however, has left me feeling physically ill.  You can read about it, if you like, but here's the bottom line:  Scientists in Cambridge have achieved a new record, they fertilized a human ova and then kept it alive in vitro (that is, in a test tube/petri dish in a laboratory) for 14 days.  The scientist involve…