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August 26, 1988 - Image 35

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1988-08-26

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

I TORAH PORTION 1

BLENDING TOGETHER ALL SEGMENTS OF
THE REFORM JEWISH COMMUNITY

Just Weights, Measures
Are Delights To God

RABBI RICHARD C. HERTZ

Special to The Jewish News

T

his week's sidrah, Ki
Tetze, deals with a
number of diverse laws
and rules for honest and
ethical conduct. Moses had
laid down a set of humane
laws to govern the Israelites,
at all times and in all cir-
cumstances. Then, after
listing a number of rules
whereby the Children of
Israel could deal kindly and
honorably with each other
and with their neighbors,
Moses then said specifically:
"You shall not have in your
pouch alternate weights,
larger and smaller. You shall
not have in your house, alter-
nate measures, a larger and
a smaller. You must have com-

Shabbat Ki Tetze:
Deuteronomy
21:10-25:19,
Isaiah 54:1-10

/-

pletely honest weights, and
completely honest measures,
if you are to endure long on
the soil the Lord your God is
giving you. For everyone who
does these things, everyone
who deals dishonestly is
abhorrent to the Lord your
God" (Deut. 25:13-16).
Moses knew that the fine
laws and ordinances, the
sound creeds and doctrines
given to the people of Israel,
were simply a means for
strengthening character and
insuring successful living. A
satisfying beneficial life can
be secured only by honesty in
all dealings with others.
Money dishonestly acquired
is never worth its cost, but a
good conscience never costs as
much as it is worth.
In today's sidrah, we are
cautioned specifically about
correct weights and measures
in order to teach that God
desires not only
righteousness on the part of
the individual, but protection
for the poor and the needy. It
is as if to say honesty builds
understanding, self-security
and friendship. Honesty of
thought and action insures
personal happiness and pro-
duces a state of satisfaction in
others. Judaism, we are
taught by this Ibrah portion,
demands that we live in an
upright life, so that we may
ever remain worthy of God's

Dr. Hertz is rabbi emeritus
of Temple Beth El.

protection and His love.
It seems scarcely anything
new or revolutionary to state
that a basic principle of
religious ethics is honesty. If
religion teaches nothing else,
it teaches that honesty is the
best policy. It was a grand
trait of the old Romans that
with them, one and the same
Latin word meant both honor
and honesty.
There is a close relationship
between honor and honesty.
Socrates once observed that
the "shortest and surest way
to live with honor in the
world is to be in reality what
we would appear to be. And if
we observe we shall find that
all human virtues increase
and strengthen themselves by
the practice and experience of
them:'
'lb one who says, "I don't
believe there is an honest
man in the world," you can
say, "It is impossible that any
one man should know all the
world, but it is quite possible
that one man should know
himself?'
The Talmud (in Sabbath
31A) points out that the very
first question in the next
world will be: "Did you deal
honestly with your fellow
man?"
Elsewhere the rabbis of an-
cient times commented wise-
ly (Mekilta to Exodus 15:26):
"'lb be honest in business is
to fulfill the whole Torah?'
Long after Moses laid down
the rules of this sidrah, we
know that honesty embodies
other attributes of character:
integrity, sound judgement,
forthrightness and a genuine
humanity.
Back in 1850, a letter was
written by a man named M.J.
Lebensohn in which he used
a phrase that has since
become the essence of
humanitarian idealism. He
wrote, "My brother, mankind.
My fatherland, the world. My
religion, virtue?' It must have
been some such thought as
that which prompted the
great Rabbi Max Lilianthal,
who came to America over a
century ago, to say: "The best
religion is 'humanity: " The
best divine service, 'love thy
neighbor as thyself: The mot-
to we inscribe on our banner,
`the fatherhood of God and
the brotherhood of man: "
These universalistic sen-
timents seem vaguely dated
from the 19th century op-
timism that surrounded the
thinking of Jews who came to
these shores.
More specifically, the rabbis
of ancient times wisely com-

PLEASE JOIN US AT OUR OPEN HOUSE

SUNDAY, AUGUST 28, 1988 or THURSDAY, SEPT. 1, 1988

2:00 to 4:00 p.m.

7:00 to 9:00 p.m

TEMPLE KOL AMI

5085 Walnut Lake Road
W. Bloomfield, Ml 48033
6M-0040

Celebrating twenty-two years as a strong voice of Reform Judaism in the community.
Ernst J. Conrad
Norman T. Roman

Founding Rabbi Emeritus

Rabbi

Affiliated with the Union of American Hebrew Congregations

Advertising in The Jewish News Gets Results
Place Your Ad Today. Call 354 6060

-

ADAT SHALOM IS FLYING HIGH!

The Adult Study Commission,
The Membership Committee, and
The Social Club of
Adat Shalom Synagogue

Cordially Invite You To The

Third Annual

FABULOUS FAMILY PICNIC
AND CONCERT ON THE GRASS

Sunday, August 28, 5:30 PM.

Featuring

Gennini

• Dress Casual
• Bring blankets, lawn
chairs, and sports
equipment
• Program will be held
rain or shine

• Hot dogs, coney burgers,
cold drinks, chips, and
brownies will be sold by
Rosenberg Caterers

• Due to the rules of
Kashrut, only food
purchased from
Rosenberg Caterers may
be eaten on the
premises

Prospective Members Are Invited To Attend As Our Guests.
RSVP by calling Executive Director Alan Yost at 851-5100

THE DETROIT JEWISH NEWS

35

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