Friday Candle Lighting: 5:28pm
Shabbat Ends: 6:17 pm
No Man Is an Island
“If a man shall uncover a pit… the owner of the pit will pay money; he will return (it) to his owner…” (21:33)
“No man is an island entire of itself” wrote John Donne in 1624. As Jews we may take this anti-isolationist exhortation one step further. A Jew has the power to bring a flow of blessing into this world or, G-d forbid, the reverse. As Rabbi Yitzhak Hutner (zatzal) once put it, “Between us and the Ribbono Shel Olam, there is no Switzerland” (This was, of course, back in the days when Switzerland still had an untarnished reputation for neutrality.) Nothing a Jew does is neutral. A Jew has the keys to the physical and spiritual bounty reaching this world. It all depends on us doing the Will of G-d.“If a man shall uncover a pit…”Every person who sins “uncovers a pit” in this world by creating damaging spiritual forces that may harm others. The solution is that “the owner of the pit will pay.” In other words, the one who sinned should repair the situation by returning kesef (literally ‘money’). The word kesef in Hebrew is from the same root as “desire” or “longing”.The way we can fix the damage, the uncovering of a spiritual pitfall, is by our longing to return to “the Owner” of the world — to G-d.
- Sources: Likutei Sfat Emet in Mayana shel Torah