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by Zvi Akiva Fleisher

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Ch. 21, v. 1: "V'ei'leh hamishpotim" - And these are the rulings - The Holy Zohar writes that the laws of monetary matters embody the secrets of reincarnation of souls, "sode gilgul." What is the connection?

The Torah gives us specific guidelines for judging. When properly applied, judges will reach the conclusion that is in accordance with Hashem's will. However, the accuracy of the ruling is not foolproof. In spite of the judges being given leeway to not rule purely by technical jurisprudence, for example, if the witnesses testimony passes the judges' grueling interrogation, they still may rule against the witnesses' testimony if they detect falsehood, even though it is not overt, "din m'ru'meh," thus averting a miscarriage of justice, nevertheless, there are times when the witnesses can outwit the judges. This can happen when they have rehearsed their testimony very well, in particular if they are somewhat scholarly, they will know exactly what to say and what to avoid. Thus there is the possibility that a person who knows that he never lent the plaintiff money can be judged to pay back a loan that never took place.

It would thus seem that the Torah's system has flaws if a judgment falls through the cracks. This is the intention of the Holy Zohar. If one knows that he is in fact innocent and in spite of this a court of competent judges has ruled against him, he must conclude that in an earlier visit to this earth he owed someone money and never paid it back. Upon his return visit he is given the "opportunity" to pay it back to the reincarnation of the other person's soul or to his heir.

Ch. 21, v. 1: "V'ei'leH hamishpotiM asheR" - And these are the rulings that - The final letters of these three words form the word Moroh. This alludes to the statement of our Rabbis that monetary laws were given to the bnei Yisroel in Moroh. (Rabbi Yaakov of Vienna)

Ch. 21, v. 1: "Asher tosim lifneihem" - That you shall place in front of them - "Lifneihem" can also be translated as "ahead of them." Perhaps this is an allusion to the gemara Sanhedrin 7a that when a person is brought in front of the Celestial Court to be judged for his actions on this world he is first asked if he dealt honestly in money matters. "Ahead of them" means the laws of money matters are dealt with first. This is very logical. If a person were to present the Celestial Court with a wagonload of mitzvos that were done with dishonest money, the mitzvos will have very little value. We must first determine how a person financed all his endeavours. (Nirreh li)

Ch. 21, v. 6: "V'rotza adonov es ozno" - And his master shall pierce his ear - Rashi explains that the ear that heard on Har Sinai that one should not steal, and in spite of this the person stole, deserves to be pierced. If so, why not have it pierced when the person is sold into servitude rather than 7 years later? The Kli Yokor answers that we have a rule that one does not receive corporeal punishment and also having to pay for one act, "ein lo'keh umsha'leim" (gemara B.M. 91a). When he was sold the money is used to pay back for his theft, so we do not pierce his ear. When the 7 years of slavery are complete and he shows that he is happy with his situation of being a slave, and thus does not consider it a punishment, we are left with the single punishment of piercing his ear.

Ch. 21, v. 6: "V'rotza adonov es ozno" - And his master shall pierce his ear - Rashi explains that the ear that heard on Har Sinai that one should not steal, "lo signove" (Shmos 20:13), and in spite of this the person stole, deserves to be pierced. I have difficulty with the verse Rashi has brought, as it refers to kidnapping, while "lo tignovu" (Vayikroh 19:11) is the verse that prohibits common theft. Any help would be appreciated.

Ch. 21, v. 7: "V'chi yimkor ish es ito l'omoh lo seitzei k'tzeis ho'avodim" - And if a man will sell his daughter as a maidservant she shall not go out as do the male servants - On a simple level we can say that this teaches us that the bas Yisroel maidservant should not go out, appear in public, in the same type of clothing that those who are born into slavery wear, so as to avoid her being equated to them. (Imrei Yaakov)

Ch. 21, v. 24: "A'yin tachas a'yin" - An eye for an eye - The gemara B.K. 84a says that the meaning of these words is that the value of an eye should be paid for an eye that was destroyed. The gemara brings numerous proofs for this. The Dvash V'cholov in the name of Rabbi Shimon Sofer says that we actually see this in the words of our verse. We always find that the Torah first tells us the injury or loss that was sustained, and only afterwards tells us the punishment or payment due. A few simple examples appear in the 3 verses just before our verse, "V'chi ya'keh .. u'meis ..nokome yino'keim, v'nogfu ishoh horoh v'yotzu y'lo'de'hoh .. onosh yei'o'neish, V'im osone y'h'yeh v'nosatoh nefesh." Why in our verse is the order reversed, first stating that the eye of the damage inflictor should be taken for the eye of the victim? He answers that this is not the meaning of these words. Rather the verse is saying, as a continuum of the cases of damages inflicted from verse 18 onwards (possibly earlier), "a'yin," if an eye is destroyed, then the punishment is "tachas a'yin," something in place of an eye, namely payment.

Ch. 21, v. 26: "V'chi ya'keh ish es ein avdo .. v'shichasoh lachofshi y'shalchenu" - And if a man will hit the eye of his servant .. and he will destroy it he should send him free - The Rashb"o raises the following question: Does this law apply if the servant was truly responsible for being hit, bringing it upon himself? The GR"A says that the answer to this question can be extrapolated from the gemara Brochos 5a. The gemara says that pain cleanses a persons sins. If the destruction of just one organ of a slave, a tooth or an eye, is sufficient to have a slave set free, surely pain, which wracks the whole body frees one from his sins. It is obvious that Hashem sends pain to a person as a response to his sinning, thus the person is the cause of his pain. Nevertheless, we say that pain should surely cleanse one's sins if a tooth or an eye bring freedom. If we say that this is only so when the slave is not at fault the reasoning is faulty, because a slave does not go free when he is at fault, so pain brought on as a result of a persons sinning should also not cleanse.

This is the intention of the verse in Iyov 31:13,14, "Im emas mishpat avdi vaamosi, U'moh e'esehki yokum Keil," - If I will despise the law of my slave and maidservant, And what will I do when Hashem will stand up in judgment. If I limit the ruling of releasing a slave to apply only when he is not at fault, then what will I do when I am judges, since the pains I have experienced will not reduce my sins, as I was at fault for their coming upon me in the first place.

Ch. 22, v. 2: "Sha'leim y'sha'leim" - Pay he shall pay - We are discussing a person who tunneled below someone's home to gain entry to be able to rob him. This is why the verse doubles the term for paying. He not only pays for the stolen item, but also pays for the damages inflicted through burrowing the tunnel. (Shaar Bas Rabim)

Ch. 22, v. 3: "Shnayim y'sha'leim" - He shall pay double - The gemara B.K. 79b says that a surreptitious thief, a "ganov," pays double, while an overt robber, a "gazlon," only pays back the principle, because the "ganov"shows that he has greater fear of man than of Hashem, as demonstrated by his only stealing while the owner is away.

Rabbi Chaim Vi'tal offers a few more reasons:

1) One sometimes can avoid being robbed by a "gazlon," by standing up against him.

2) Since the victim sees the "gazlon" there is hope that he will recover his loss

3) The "gazlon" out of embarrassment might repent and return the item.

4) Brazen robbery in front of a person is less prevalent than "g'neivoh." A sin that is more prevalent deserves stronger medicine to remedy it.



See also Oroh V'Simchoh - Meshech Chochmoh on the Weekly Parsha and Chasidic Insights

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