subscribe.gif (2332 bytes)

Biography of Yehuda Katz | Archives | This Week's Parsha


"Should you see your enemy's donkey sprawled under its burden, would you fail to help him?You shall surely help him along." (23:5)

In Hebrew , "You shall surely help him along " are the words "azov taazov imo". Targum Onkelos translates the words to mean something different as follows: " surely you shall abandon what you have in your heart against him and help him unload." The words "azov taazov" can also mean to forsake or abandon, namely the hatred in your heart that you have against your enemy. Targum Onkelos is teaching us a very important and significant lesson concerning what our approach should be towards self improvement. A person must be constantly on the "rise" towards self- improvement.Its not enough that a person helps his enemy with a burden because the Torah commands him to do so, a person must at the same time eradicate the hatred festering within. Its very possible that a person helps his enemy only because the Torah commands him to do so, eventhough the hatred is still very much alive. However, there is something intrisically lacking in this act. An act like this has no growth component attached to it, namely in the fact that hatred is still present and alive.Therefore, Targum Onkelos makes the elimination of the hatred a vital component of this very Mitzvah. Judaism is a relgion premised on a person "rising" and growing towards becoming better as a result. If your not better today than yesturday, then your on the decline spiritually. There is a very significant saying attributed to the Kelm Yeshiva (Mussar Yeshiva) that is in tune with the topic being discussed, as follows:"There are 2 people. One prays without concentration but is beginning to concentrate on the meaning of a limited number of words. The other person ordinarily prays with very good concentration but is becoming somewhat lax in certain parts of his prayers. Which of the 2 is on a higher religious plateau? The answer being the first one since he is on the "rise". He is essentially growing and developing." Are we on the "rise"? Have a good Shabbos


This article is provided as part of Shema Yisrael
Torah Network
Permission is granted to redistribute electronically or
on paper,
provided that this notice is included intact.
For information on subscriptions, archives, and
other Shema Yisrael
send mail to

Shema Yisrael Torah Network
Jerusalem, Israel

Feedback is Appreciated at