Ki Sitzei 3
From Trust to Honesty
this week’s portion, the commandment to be honest in our business dealings is
mentioned: “A perfect and honest weight shall you have, a perfect and honest
measure shall you have, so that your days shall be lengthened on the land that
G-d gives you. For an abomination of G-d are all who do this who act
corruptly” (Deut. 25:15-16).
to’eva, is a very strong term. This is a term normally used to define someone
who has gone against nature, for example, witchcraft or homosexuality. Why is it
used here, regarding our business scruples?
can understand this passage if we take note of the passage immediately following
this one: “Remember what Amalek did to you, on the way when you were leaving
Egypt. That he happened upon you on the way, and he struck those of you in the
back…you shall wipe out the memory of Amalek, you shall not forget” (Deut
is the reason these two passages are juxtaposed?
is there a commandment to completely wipe out Amalek? It is because of the
defining belief of the Amalekites. After the Jewish people had left Egypt, no
nation in the world was willing to start up with them. It had become known to
the other nations that G-d was protecting the Jewish people. The plagues that
had been visited upon the Egyptian people had become known, as had the splitting
of the sea, and subsequent drowning of the Egyptians. The other nations were
scared and rightfully so - every nation, that is, except for Amalek.
Amalek believed that what had happened to the Jewish people amounted to
little more than good luck. The verse states “that he (Amalek) happened upon
you (the Israelites) on the way.” The word in Hebrew for happened is “mikreh”,
which also denotes happenstance or randomness. Amalek happened upon the Jewish
people because Amalek believed in randomness. They refused to see G-d’s hands
in the world. This is why they must be obliterated from the face of the earth.
Amalek stands in complete opposition to everything that the Jew believes.
we surely do not know why G-d runs the world as He does, we know that everything
happens for a reason. The Talmud relates to us (Tractate Brochos 6a) that when
Moshe asked G-d to reveal to him His ways, that Moshe wanted to understand why
bad things happen to good people and good things happen to bad people.
someone as great as Moshe had difficulty understanding the way of G-d. And that
is perfectly okay. We have a relationship with G-d, and part of a relationship
means trust. G-d has certainly “proven” Himself to us. All one needs to do
is see the pattern of world history to know that G-d is constantly guiding us.
is an essential part of the beauty and paradox of our relationship with G-d.
In the words of the great 13th century Spanish philosopher
Rabbi Yehuda Ibn Tibon, “If I knew G-d (in totality), I would be Him.”
same rule rings true regarding our livelihood. A person who cheats in business
has committed a great abomination, because his cheating means that he does not
believe that G-d will provide for him. And that is going against nature.
we merit to see the hand of G-d both in our personal life and as He guides the