Divrei Torah

PARSHAS ACHAREI-KEDOSHIM 5777

There is a phrase that appears several times in this week’s Parsha: “and you will fear from your G-d”. In the Book of Devarim, the Torah writes a mitzva, “you shall fear the L-rd your G-d.” That mitzva applies to life in general. So, why does the Torah apply this idea of fearing G-d to selected mitzvos in this week’s Parsha? 

Rashi explains that the phrase “and you will fear from your G-d” teaches us that there are actions that appear openly to be proper, yet, the true intent is deceitful. For example, this week’s Parsha mentions a prohibition of placing a stumbling block in front of a blind person. Our rabbis teach us that a stumbling block does not only mean a physical object meant to cause a person to fall. A stumbling block can also mean anything that causes another’s downfall. A blind person can also refer to misleading somebody who is blind in a particular matter – he has no knowledge of the subject and I cause him to stumble. If I give you advice ostensibly to assist you, but I know that in reality it will harm you, that is also placing a stumbling block in front of a blind person.

Now, I can excuse my advice by saying that I was attempting to help you, even though I was trying to harm you. Who will know the difference? So, the Torah emphasizes, “and you will fear from your G-d” – G-d knows what you are thinking and you cannot get away with your deceit. 

As with everything in life, if we keep G-d in mind at all times, not only won’t I stumble or place a stumbling block in front of another person, rather, I will be a building block for the Jewish people.