Friday, July 16, 2010

Parshas Devorim

I have always believed that if someone does something wrong towards you, you shouldn’t do wrong to them too. “Two wrongs don’t make a right”. A person is not excused for harming another since the other harmed them first. That is Nekama, revenge. We are supposed to be compassionate people, and not want to harm others.

Something to say:

Hashem our God, gave into our hands also Og, king of Bashan (3:3).

After forty years in the Wilderness, the Jews had begun the conquest of Eretz Yisrael, beginning with the kingdoms of Sichon and Og. The Midrash Rabbah relates that Og, the king of Bashan, the infamous and evil giant who hated the Jews, once uprooted a mountain with his mighty hands and heaved it over the Jewish nation in an attempt to crush them. Moses uttered the secret Name of God and was miraculously able to suspend the mountain in midair, so that no one was hurt. After this, the Jews proclaimed, “Cursed are the hands that threw this mountain”; and the Emorites declared, “Blessed are the hands that held it up.”

The Sefer Ta’am Voda’as finds it puzzling that the Emorites blessed the Children of Israel and the hands of Moses; they were enemies of the Jews and despised them. He answers that Moses’ great level of Kindness mad ea tremendous impression on the Emorites. The cruelty of Og, who sought to destroy the Jewish people in one fell swoop, was obvious; he showed no mercy whatsoever. Moshes, with the strength that God gave him, could easily have responded measure for measure and thrown the mountain at the Emorites, but he did no such thing. He merely suspended the mountain to prevent it from falling on the Jews.

This Midrash teaches us that the Jewish people are unique in their innate quality of compassion. We are called merciful ones, the children of merciful ones. For this reason the Emorites blessed the hands of Moses- because he held the mountain in place.

So next time someone does something bad towards us and we want to give them “a taste of their own medicine”, think about how the person will get hurt. Think about how we are compassionate people and don’t want to hurt others. So we should only treat people right, with care and compassion.