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Exodus 22:5 – If a fire breaks out…

Dinsdag 23 Shevat 5783 (14.02.23)

כִּֽי־תֵצֵ֨א אֵ֜שׁ וּמָצְאָ֤ה קֹצִים֙ וְנֶאֱכַ֣ל גָּדִ֔ישׁ א֥וֹ הַקָּמָ֖ה א֣וֹ הַשָּׂדֶ֑ה שַׁלֵּ֣ם יְשַׁלֵּ֔ם הַמַּבְעִ֖ר אֶת־הַבְּעֵרָֽה׃

“If a fire breaks out—even accidentally—and spreads through thorns, so that it consumes stacked or standing grain or a newly-plowed field, hardening it so the owner has to plow it again, the one who kindled the fire must make restitution. Even though he started the fire on his own property, he did not take sufficient measures to prevent it from spreading onto someone else’s property, and is therefore liable for damages.

The Divine Code

“A person is considered predisposed to damaging at all times. Therefor, whether the perpetrator damaged with intentions or not, was awake or asleep, or intoxicated, he must fully pay for the bodily or property damage he caused, if it could have been prevented by taking appropriate care. If, however, a person causes damage due to circumstances beyond his control, he is not obligated to pay compensation.”

The text shows how important it is to be extremely careful, because even if you accidentally harm someone, you are responsible.

This applies not only to another person, but also to damage you do to yourself. Making wrong choices is like fire. At first it only burns some thorns – the Yetzar harah makes you do something small wrong that seems insignificant. But that’s just the beginning; it will take larger and larger forms, from not saying bracha once before eating something, to never speaking to HaShem again. The bigger the fire is, the harder it will be to put out, it will take you more and more (effort), to return to HaShem.

What is True for Negative Fire is also True for Positive Fire

The soul of man can be compared to fire. With the fire of your soul you can reach another soul. Make one feel the warmth of Torah, make one feel humanity. A small word, a small gesture can perhaps lead to a small flame in another, which then reaches another human being. Thus a small gesture of love, of chesed can change the world. With the difference that harming the other person or yourself will always cost you something, whereas a kind word, a kind gesture will cost you nothing, but will only give you something.

By Angelique Sijbolts

Sources: Kehot Chumash Mispatim, The Divine Code 4e edition p. 603 by Rabbi Moshe Weiner and Dr. Michael Schulman

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