Parshas Ki Teitzei
Listen to This Secret, and Smile!
“You shall not see the donkey of your brother, or his ox falling on the road and hide yourself from them; you shall surely stand them up, with him.” (Devorim 22:4)
I shared this story from Rabbi Dovid Ashear in a previous dvar Torah, but it is worth repeating for this particular dvar Torah.
A woman walked into a bakery in Israel, one erev Shabbos. As she was thinking about what to buy, the salesman told her that there was a special sale, and she could get two cakes for the price of one. She liked the idea but said that she only needed one cake. He suggested that she give the second cake to someone else. She said that she could give one to her sister, but she did not have the time to bring it to her. When the salesman heard where her sister lived, he said that he lived only a few blocks away and could deliver it for her. He wrote the name and the address. She wrote a note saying, “From your sister. Have a great Shabbos!” After Shabbos, she was surprised that her sister did not call her to thank her for the cake. She called her sister and was surprised to hear that the cake had not been delivered. The next morning, she called the bakery to find out what had happened. The salesman said that he had delivered the cake to the address she had given him, to her sister on the first floor. She said, “But my sister lives on the third floor!” Apparently, there were two people at that address with the same last name and the cake was delivered to the “wrong” person. This woman got very curious and looked in the phone book for the phone number of the person who did get the cake. She called and asked the woman who answered the phone if she had a received a cake that erev Shabbos. There was a long pause, and the sound of crying could be heard. When the woman composed herself, she said that what they got was more than just a cake. Apparently, her husband had not spoken to his sister for over 10 years because of a petty argument. When he saw the cake from “his” sister, he thought she wanted to make peace and renew the relationship. He called his sister to thank her. That phone call was the catalyst in bringing her husband and his sister back to a peaceful and loving relationship.
Reuven does not like Levi because Reuven feels that Levi caused him an injustice. Shalom does not like Shimon because Shimon did not speak-up to defend him. Yehudah does not like Binyamin because Binyamin did not help him when his help was needed. Zev does not like Beryl because Beryl once made fun of him. Leah is upset at Sara for not inviting her to her wedding. Nosson does not like his sister, Rochel, because of a comment that she had said about him to someone else in the family.
How can we unify Klal Yisroel? How can we bring peace amongst ourselves? How can we restore good feelings and friendship with one another? If we can think of a solution, we will feel a heavy burden lifted from our shoulders and we will feel much happier. Klal Yisroel will then become reunited as one.
Rabbeinu Bachya has a solution. The pasuk states, “You shall not see the donkey of your brother, or his ox falling on the road and hide yourself from them; you shall surely stand them up, with him.” (Devorim 22:4) You are obligated to help your brother in need. If his animal had fallen due to its heavy load, you are obligated to help him remove the load and help the animal stand. (There are many specific details about this mitzvah.)
Rabbeinu Bachya points out that the Torah had stated this mitzvah, previously, but with a major difference. The pasuk in Parshas Mishpatim (23:5) states, “If you see the donkey of someone you hate crouching under its burden, would you refrain from helping him? – You shall help him repeatedly.” The first time that the Torah obligates us to help, the Torah refers to the person in need as, “your enemy”. The second time that the Torah obligates us to help, the Torah calls the person in need, “your brother”. Rabbeinu Bachya learns a very important lesson from the difference in wording of these two psukim. If you assist your enemy with his falling donkey, he will eventually appreciate you and become “your brother.” He will forget the “hatred” between you and only remember the bond of love that unites brothers.
Rabbeinu Bachya gives us the secret formula to end hatred. Be nice to the person that you dislike. Do a favor to the one that you may hate. That will melt the feelings of hate in both of your hearts and will restore feelings of love. You will be happier and so will he. It is hard to be the one to take the first step, but it will be worth it! So many people have had their lives ruined due to arguments between friends or family members. Some of the arguments were even over minor things, but the bad feelings festered and grew.
Hashem loves us all, as a father loves his children. Think of how hurt a father feels when two of his children have a fight and are no longer speaking to each other.
Think of how happy it will make Hashem if you put in the effort to end discord between Hashem’s children. What a tremendous z’chus it will be for you and your entire family.
As Rosh Hashana approaches. what a powerful source of blessing this will be for you.
Go for it! Make yourself happy and bring blessings into your life!
[Go to JEPQueens.com and look in the Archives for Parshas Acharei Mos-Kedoshim. The dvar Torah titled, “Do Not Hit the Mailman”, gives another suggestion of how to help you remove the ill feelings from your heart.]