Parashas Kedoshim

In this week’s parashah, the Torah commands (Vayikra 19:17): “Do not hate your brother in your heart; you must surely rebuke your fellow man, and do not bear sin on his account.” In last year’s d’var Torah on this parashah, we presented the bulk of the Maggid’s commentary on this command. Here we present a segment that we omitted earlier.
The overall theme of the Maggid’s commentary is that reflecting on misdeeds we see others commit naturally helps us learn how not to act. This principle, the Maggid says, sheds light on a puzzling teaching in Pesachim 113b. The Gemara says that the wicked Canaan commanded five things to his sons: (1) love each other, (2) love theft, (3) love lewdness, (4) hate your Master, and (5) don’t speak the truth. The last four items are all patently evil traits. The first item seems completely out of place. But we can explain why Canaan included this item as follows. Typically, when a thief sees another person stealing (especially if it is from him that the the person is stealing), he is led to hate and despise the person. It is the same with other forms of evildoing such as lewdness. The experience of watching someone steal or engage in lewdness leads a person to recognize well the despicability of this behavior. Accordingly, had Canaan included only the last four items in his list of commands, his sons might eventually have ceased to heed his bidding – each son, seeing his brothers’ wicked behavior, might have come to despise such behavior and stop engaging in it himself. Therefore, Canaan added the command that his son’s should love each other, so that they would be unperturbed by each other’s evildoing.
David Zucker, Site Administrator

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