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September 05, 2003 - Image 51

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 2003-09-05

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

Torah Portion

Lead An Honest, Scrupulous
Don't Be A Petty Thief
Life

esty of its citizens. Without trust,
people would stop buying goods
from one another; the economy
would grind to a halt and everyone
would suffer. (Just ask the former
CEO of Enron.)
But there's a deeper message in
ast week, the Detroit Free
this commandment as well. When I
Press ran an article about
cheat with my weights, ostensibly I
"one of the business
do it because I think that no one
world's nasty little secrets."
will notice. I'm just taking a small
After the first day of school,
slice off the top — nothing more.
when children come home with lists
No one will miss that extra 2 per-
of pens, pencils, rulers and crayons
cent (or that pack of pens), so why
they'll need for the coming
not take it?
year, instead of heading out
Says God, "True, your
to the local office supply
customers (or co-workers)
store, parents head to their
won't know that you're
company's supply closet to
stealing from them; but I
stock up.
will."
Why do people do it
Someone who steals sur-
(aside from the obvious
reptitiously, but exhibits
monetary savings)? Let us
the facade of model citi-
count the rationalizations:
zenry, is not only a petty
Perhaps it's repayment
thief; he denies the very
RABBI
for extra hours they worked
God watching him do it.
REUVEN
without being paid. Or for
Moreover, the benefits
SPOLTER
work done at home. Or on
of
honesty far outweigh
Special to the
a weekend. Or as thanks
those
of stealing because
Jewish News
for working harder because
God promises long life to
others have been laid off.
those who uphold this
Or maybe it's because they have
commandment.
to work so late that the office sup-
So, put the ruler back in the sup-
ply stores are closed.
ply closet. Don't download that ille-
Whatever the reasoning, it's still
gal MP3 file from the Internet.
stealing; and it's still wrong. The
Give your friend back the software
Torah, in our parshah, goes so far as
package he let you borrow to load
to call it an abomination. And dis-
onto your computer. Make sure that
honesty and stealing, no matter
you really do qualify for that tax
what the amount, is a recipe for
deduction. And encourage your
personal disaster.
friends to do the same.
At the same time, maintaining a
It's not easy. Every day presents a
standard of personal honesty in
new and different challenge. But
financial matters can elevate us
when we rise to the occasion and
higher than we thought possible.
live honest, scrupulous lives, not
At the end of Ki Tetze, God com-
only will we feel better about our-
mands us to be meticulous in mon-
selves. We'll live longer, too. ❑
etary issues. "Don't carry in your
pocket two stones, one big and one
small." (The big one to measure
what you're buying; the small one
what you're selling).
Don't keep different measure-
In this week's parshah (Torah por-
tion), the Torah commands us to
ments in your home to cheat others.
remember what the nation of
Rather, "You shall have a perfect
Amalek did to us in the desert
and just weight, a perfect and just
(they attacked us when we were
measure shall you have, so that your
weak). Therefore, we must destroy
days may be lengthened in the land
the memory of Amalek from the
which the Lord your God gives
face of the earth. But, isn't that a
25:15)
you." (Deuteronomy
paradox? How can we destroy
What's the big deal?
something we're supposed to
Society depends upon the hon-
remember, and how do we
remember something we're sup-
Reuven Spolter is rabbi of Young Israel
posed to completely destroy?

High Holidays At Aish.
Services Wi A Smile.

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

L

Conversations

of Oak Park. His e-mail address is
rabbispolter@yiop.org

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51

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