Torah.org Home Subscribe Services Support Us
 
Print Version

Email this article to a friend

Ends and Means

By Rabbi Daniel Travis

"Go to the flock and take two choice young kids…" (Bereshith 27:9)

In this verse, Rivka commanded Yaakov to take goats that belonged to her alone. As part of her nuptial agreements, Rivka was entitled to take two animals from Yitzchak’s flock every day. Thus the kids she prepared for Yaakov to bring to Yitzchak were not stolen property{1}. We are well aware that the future of the Jewish Nation depended upon Yaakov receiving Yitzchak’s blessings; furthermore, Rivka understood through her gift of prophecy that Yaakov was to receive the blessings instead of Esav. Nevertheless, she knew that this did not give her license to violate the prohibition of theft. No matter how worthy one’s purpose, it does not justify resorting to theft{2}.

Although the Patriarchs and Matriarchs kept the Torah, it was a voluntary matter for them, and they could act contrary to the Torah’s laws if they saw a need to{3}. A glaring example of this is the fact that Yaakov married two sisters, though the Torah prohibits it. Since the Torah’s laws had not yet become obligatory at that time, Yaakov was permitted to marry both Leah and Rachel. Nevertheless, this was not the case regarding theft; a “good reason” never absolved anyone from the prohibition of theft, for human logic compels that prohibition. God expects people to know that no one has a right to touch anything that does not belong to him. Therefore there was no excuse for stealing, even though the Torah had not yet been given.

Someone who overcomes a strong urge to violate the Torah’s commandments, and instead performs God’s will, receives greater reward for his efforts than someone who keeps the commandments when he has no urge to do otherwise {4}. A person should not say that he refrains from eating milk with meat because it is repulsive to him, rather he should say he would like to eat it, but the Torah forbids it{5}. It is praiseworthy to have a desire to eat milk and meat together, and to overcome that desire, but this is not the case when it comes to theft and other sins which could cause harm to others, since it is logical that no one should engage in such acts. Someone who desires to steal the property of others should do everything in his power to uproot that feeling from his heart{6}.

Footnotes:

{1} Rashi on Bereshith 27:9.
{2} Nachalath Devash pp. 37-38.
{3} See Rav Elchanan Wasserman’s Kovetz Ma’amarim, p. 128.
{4} Rambam, Shemonah Perakim, Ch. 6.
{5} Torath Kohanim 20:26.
{6} Rambam ibid.


Text Copyright © 2007 by Rabbi Daniel Travis and Torah.org


 






ARTICLES ON DEVARIM AND THE THREE WEEKS:

View Complete List

They Can Assure a Cure
Rabbi Label Lam - 5773

How?
Rabbi Yisroel Ciner - 5761

About This We Cry!
Rabbi Label Lam - 5766

ArtScroll

And So The Journey Continues
Rabbi Pinchas Winston - 5765

Petty Squabble to Baseless Hatred
Rabbi Yaakov Menken - 5758

Golden Opportunities
Rabbi Naftali Reich - 5772

> Immortal Teacher
Rabbi Aron Tendler - 5760

Utilizing our Gifts Properly
Rabbi Yosef Kalatzky - 5764

Self-Fulfilling Prophecy
Rabbi Yochanan Zweig - 5771

Looking for a Chavrusah?

Golden Opportunities
Rabbi Naftali Reich - 5773

17th of Tammuz: Why We Fast - Part 1
Rabbi Yehudah Prero - 5758

9th of Av: Reasons for Fasting - Part 1
Rabbi Yehudah Prero - 5758

Frumster - Orthodox Jewish Dating

Don't Flaunt It
Rabbi Yissocher Frand - 5764

Paradise Lost
Rabbi Mordechai Kamenetzky - 5759

The Bobover Rebbe Zt"l
Rabbi Eliyahu Hoffmann - 5760

Small Favors
Rabbi Yissocher Frand - 5772



Project Genesis

Torah.org Home


Torah Portion

Jewish Law

Ethics

Texts

Learn the Basics

Seasons

Features

TORAHAUDIO

Ask The Rabbi

Knowledge Base




Help

About Us

Contact Us



Free Book on Geulah!




Torah.org Home
Torah.org HomeCapalon.com Copyright Information