Kedoshim – Sheini

Just in Case

By Rabbi Jack Abramowitz

By definition, justice must be just. Judges are not allowed to favor the underdog, in order to give them a break, nor the powerful, out of respect.

Gossip and tale-bearing are strictly forbidden and one may not stand idly by while another person is in danger. (Again, G-d knows whether or not you have the ability to intervene.)

One may not observe another’s misdeeds and silently hate him because of them. Rather, one must try to correct the other person’s behavior. To turn a blind eye when one could rectify things is itself sinful.

One may not take revenge, or even bear a grudge. (Taking revenge is tit-for-tat behavior. Bearing a grudge is taking the high road, but then pointing out to the other person that you’re better than he is.) Rather, we must love one another as we do ourselves.

Other mitzvos in this aliyah: not to crossbreed animals or plants, or even to wear a garment of mixed wool and linen (“shaatnez”).

Here’s a unique situation: If a man has sexual relations with a half-free slave woman, who is partially married to another man (because she’s only half-free), she’ll get punished for consensual adultery, but the couple is not liable to the death penalty because of her half-slave status. The man has to bring a korban asham (guilt offering). The reason this law is so different is because it can only apply when a slave woman owned by two partners is freed by one of them. This is hardly a daily occurrence, but one must be prepared for the eventuality!

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