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Nasso: A sin against a person is a sin against God

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Transcript: A sin against a person is a sin against God. In Parshat Nasso the Torah tells us (Bamidbar 5:6)

“Ish o isha ki ya’asu mikol chatot haadam limol mal baHashem,” – “If any man or woman commits the type of sin that sometimes people carry out, it is a trespass against Hashem.”

Rashi here cites the explanation of our sages that we’re talking about a person who has in their possession something belonging to another person – yet they deny it. They even swear that it is false. But after a time they acknowledge their guilt and they confess their sin.

Rabbeinu Bachayei comments that when the Torah says ‘ish o isha ki asu mikol chatot haadam,’ that means that when a man or a woman sins against another person ‘limol mal baHashem’ in such a situation that is a sin against God.

In the Sefer Melo Haomer he takes this one step further. He comments on the fact that in Parshat Nasso, the Torah goes on to tell us that such an individual needs to bring a Ram as a sin offering. However, we learn earlier in the book of Vayikra that a sin against God can provide an opportunity to bring two birds. Why must everybody bring a more expensive offering of a ram here?

The Melo Haomer explains: because when you’re sinning against God it’s against God alone but here the person is sinning against people and in that way, it’s also against God.

I find it to be of particular significance that Parshat Nasso is usually read immediately after the festival of Shavuot, a time when we strengthen our connection with our Creator through remembering Zman Matan Toratainu, the way in which He gave us the Torah at Mount Sinai.

The message that emerges is that we can only have a strong relationship with Hashem if we have a proper and responsible relationship with our fellow human beings. 

Shabbat shalom.


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