Torah.org Home Subscribe Services Support Us
 
Print Version

Email this article to a friend

Do Not Covet and Do Not Desire1 Part 1

Having spent several months discussing the prohibition of stealing, it is instructive to examine another commandment that pertains to our attitude and relationship to other people's property. Right at the end of the Ten Commandments the Torah instructs us:

"Do not covet (tachmod) your fellow's house. You shall not covet your fellow's wife, his manservant, his maidservant, his ox, his donkey, nor anything that belongs to your fellow."[2]

From a simplistic reading of this verse, it would seem that the Torah is prohibiting a person from merely wanting someone else's possessions. However, the Shulchan Aruch[3] states that this is not the nature of this prohibition. Rather, the word, 'tachmod' implies to cajoling, pressuring, or embarrassing someone into selling him something that the owner really did not want to sell. This is what the Torah is prohibiting.

Later in the Torah, the Ten Commandments are repeated with slight changes. One of them is in the above mentioned verse. The verse begins; "You shall not covet your fellow's wife," using the same word, tachmod, implying an active effort to attain the item. However the verse continues differently, saying, "you shall not desire (titaveh) your fellow's house..."[4] The Shulchan Aruch explains here the Torah is prohibiting merely thinking and scheming how to pressure one's fellow into selling him the item. Thus, even if one only plans how to attain the item in such a fashion and never proceeds, he nonetheless transgresses the Torah commandment of 'loh titaveh'.

In the coming weeks we will discuss the details of this mitzva.


[1] Much of the information for this essay is taken from "Halachos of Other People's Money" by Rabbi Yisroel Pinchos Bodner.
[2] Yisro, 20:14.
[3] This is the body of law that forms the basis for much of halacha.
[4] Va'eschanan, 5:18.


Text Copyright 2009 by Rabbi Yehonasan Gefen and Torah.org

Visit Rabbi Gefen's new blog at rabbiygefen.blogspot.com.

Rabbi Gefen's new book, The Guiding Light, is now available! To order, please contact Rabbi Gefen at Gefen123@smile.net.il or 00972 52 761 9935.


 






ARTICLES ON LECH LECHA:

View Complete List

Worthy of the Brocha!
Rabbi Label Lam - 5770

Better A Second Time Around
Shlomo Katz - 5767

Out of This World
Rabbi Label Lam - 5769

Looking for a Chavrusah?

That Fire Within
Rabbi Label Lam - 5765

The Ordeal of Departure
Rabbi Naftali Reich - 5767

Enduring Lesson
Rabbi Eliyahu Hoffmann - 5759

> Saved in Yaakov's Merit
Shlomo Katz - 5761

Environmental Hazard
Rabbi Yochanan Zweig - 5774

Avraham's Legacy to his Descendants
Rabbi Berel Wein - 5771

Frumster - Orthodox Jewish Dating

Lech Lecha: Avraham "Our Father"
Shlomo Katz - 5766

Lucky Man
Rabbi Raymond Beyda - 5767

Keeping Focus
Rabbi Pinchas Avruch - 5767

ArtScroll

Uniquely Human
Rabbi Aron Tendler - 5762

I Too Was Struck
Rabbi Label Lam - 5768

Emunah: Keeping the Faith
Rabbi Osher Chaim Levene - 5768

Divine intervention in Our Wars Against Our Enemies
Rabbi Pinchas Winston - 5771



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