CHANUKAS HATORAH
Mishpotim
Chanukas Hatorah - Parshas Mishpotim
   

When did the ear hear Hashem command it not to steal money?

(21,6) “And his master shall bring him to the judges, and he shall bring him to the door or to the doorpost, and his master shall bore his ear with an awl and he shall serve him forever.”

Rashi brings the question why the ear was singled out from all the other limbs as the one to be bored. Rabban Yochanan ben Zakkai answered that this ear that heard at Mount Sinai “you shall not steal”, and yet it went and stole, it should be bored through. But this explanation is problematic, because the posuk “you shall not steal” refers to stealing people - kidnapping, whereas the person in our posuk had been sold as a servant because he had stole money!

But we can explain it according to the Midrash on the posuk 20:1 “And G-d spoke all these words, saying”, that the word “saying” teaches that Hashem spoke all the commandments in one saying, something that it is impossible for the ear to hear and the mouth to speak. Another explanation, is that it teaches that together with every commandment Hashem told them all the sub-laws which were relevant to that commandment. For example, with the commandment “you shall not kill” Hashem also commanded them not to embarrass somebody, because this is like murder since he causes the person’s blood to drain from his face. And with the commandment “you shall not steal”, He also commanded them not to steal money and not to "steal the minds of people" - not to mislead people by duplicitous behaviour.

Now we can understand the words of Rashi who explained that the ear was singled out because it heard at Mount Sinai "you shall not steal". And since it heard, it is impossible to say like the first explanation of the Midrash, but rather like the second explanation, that Hashem told them all the details of each commandment. Therefore, even though the command not to steal refers to kidnapping, nevertheless the details were related with it, including not to steal money. Thus this ear that heard at Mount Sinai not to steal money and yet it went and stole deserves to be bored through.

Why would I think that the left ear should be bored?

(21,6) “And his master shall bring him to the judges, and he shall bring him to the door or to the doorpost, and his master shall bore his ear with an awl and he shall serve him forever.”

Rashi explains that it is the right ear that has to be bored and not the left, and he brings a proof for this. But surely mitzvos are normally done with the right, except when we are told otherwise, so why would we think that it might be the left ear?

But it says in the Midrash on Shir Hashirim on posuk 1:2 “let him kiss me with the kisses of his mouth”, that at the giving of the Torah the speech went out from Hashem’s right to the left of Yisrael. From this it emerges that the commandment “you shall not steal”, because of which this ear is being bored, was heard by the left ear, so I might have thought that it is the left ear which should be bored. Therefore, we needed a proof that it is the right ear which has to be bored.

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