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Don't Just Talk About It

By: Rav Aharon E. Wexler

We often define a ‘frum’ Jew based on his or her fulfillment of Orach Chayim. Orach Chayim is one of the four sections of the Shulchan Aruch. HaRav Yosef Karo, the author of the Shulchan Aruch took the same division of Halacha found in the Tur, and used it as the paradigm of his magnum opus. Since then, this division of Halacha into four different sections has become the paradigm of almost all Halachic literature.

Orach Chayim deals with the laws of daily living. These include but are not limited to the laws of prayer and Shabbat.

Yoreh Deah deals with laws that are ritual in nature. Among these are the laws of Kashrut and Nidah.

Even HaEzer are the laws guiding marriage and divorce.

Choshen Mishpat are the laws dealing with business.

It is a sad fact that the vast majority of frum Jews have never opened a copy of Choshen Mishpat. This week’s parsha, while famous for the law of the captive beauty, which is almost irrelevant in our day-to-day lives; also includes the following laws:

“You shall not abuse a needy and destitute laborer; whether it is your brother or a stranger in one of he communities in your land”

"You must pay him his wages the same day, before the sun sets, for he is needy and urgently depends on it.”

“You shall not have in your pouch alternate weights, larger and smaller.”

“You must have honest weights and completely honest measures.”

“Everyone who deals dishonestly is abhorrent to the Lord!”

In Devarim we find the following passuk: “Observe them carefully, for this will show your wisdom and understanding to the nations, who will hear about all these decrees and say, ‘Surely this great nation is a wise and understanding people.’” (4:6)

Which laws do you think they will hear about and think are so splendid that they’ll say about the Jewish people: ‘Surely this great nation is a wise and understanding people!’?

In order to merit the fulfillment of that biblical promise, we can’t just talk about the ritual laws. People need to hear about the laws of how to be an honest and trustworthy human being. How about taking a few minutes out of your Shabbat table talk to discuss how these psukim quoted above can have an impact on our lives and how we can integrate these Divine commands into our daily lives.

Shabbat Shalom!





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