Sign In Forgot Password

Returning the lost

09/16/2016 08:03:40 AM


Shalom Y’all

This weekly Parsha is: Ki Teitzei  כי תצא found in Deuteronomy 21:10-25:19, total of 110 verses.

It has 27 “Do” commands, 47 “Do Not”.

This week’s portion, has more commands than any other Parsha (74 Mitzvoth). The variety of subjects discussed include: war laws, family laws, social justice, hybrids and ploughing, burial, Tzitzit (tassels), interest and mortgage. There is even a do command requiring home owners to build a fence on the roof, or assume responsibly for the plaintiff that falls. There is virtually something to be said about everything! Not to forget he who has two wives and wants to inherit more to the wife that he likes more, or he who sees his father naked, or human trafficking (spoiler alert: don’t do it – on all three occasions).

I’d like to focus on one command which falls into the social justice category: השבת אבדה (Hashavas Aveda), which means: returning the lost.

You shall not see your brother's ox or his sheep driven away, and hide it from them; you should bring them back and return to your brother… And so shall you do with his donkey; and so shall you do with his garment; and so shall you do with every lost thing of your brother's, which he had lost and you found; You cannot hide/ignore.” (22:1-3 my translation).

For it profits all and brings equanimity to the state. We all forget sometimes, or occasionally have animals run away” (The Chinuch Book. Link) It is human nature to lose things, it is human nature to forget. The Torah wants us to live in a utopian society. There is a passive command do not take what does not belong to you, and then there is the active portion: return what does not belong to you. It is a great educational opportunity, a community value, and a lesson about ownership and possession.

For further discussion or whatever, email me at:

Shabbat Shalom!

Ben Romberg

Sun, October 17 2021 11 Cheshvan 5782