Parasha Inspiration – Ki Teitzei

לֹא־יִֽהְיֶ֥ה לְךָ֛ בְּכִֽיסְךָ֖ אֶ֣בֶן וָאָ֑בֶן גְּדוֹלָ֖ה וּקְטַנָּֽה: לֹא־יִֽהְיֶ֥ה לְךָ֛ בְּבֵֽיתְךָ֖ אֵיפָ֣ה וְאֵיפָ֑ה גְּדוֹלָ֖ה וּקְטַנָּֽה:

You shall not keep in your pouch two different weights, one large and one small. You shall not keep in your house two different ephah measures, one large and one small.

Deuteronomy 25:13-14

There are 74 different mitzvot listed in this week’s Torah portion. Of these, one is dealing with a very grievous offense, fraud. We are not to keep different measures in our house in order to defraud people.

This commandment seems simple enough, however, on closer examination, the commandment is concerns simply keeping two measures in one’s house. The keeping of the two measures is a problem because of the intent. The purpose of the two different weights; of the two different measures, is to defraud. It is the intent, or purpose, that the commandment addresses.

The commandment is actually dealing with an intent to defraud. It does not matter whether we are using weights and measures, or false accounting, or any other devious business practice, if the intent is to commit fraud, Torah is violated.

The negative commandment to not defraud our neighbor fits with the entire concept of the heart and mind when doing mitzvot., We must have the right heart and mind when dealing with our fellow man. Cheating and defrauding are examples of actions that indicate we are not loving our neighbor as ourselves. Shabbat shalom.

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Rabbi Steven Bernstein

Steve was born on Lag B’Omer in Ann Arbor, MI but was raised in Gainesville, FL. The son of two University of Florida professors, he excelled in the sciences in school. In addition to his normal academic studies, he pursued his Jewish education studying with many Rabbis and professors of Judaic Studies from the University including visiting Rabbis such as Abraham Joshua Heschel and Shlomo Carlebach.