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Would You Make This Sacrifice?


You’re tired and driving home from working late.  You finally make it home and can’t wait to just relax and have a cup of tea before you hit the sack.  Then, just as you take your first sip, there’s a knock at the door.  It’s a police officer.

“I’m sorry to disturb you, but I just wanted to let you know that you ran a stop sign a few blocks away near the school.”

“Oh, my!” you say.  “I didn’t even notice.  I’m so sorry!”

“I’m not going to ticket you, but there’s usually a lot of after school programs and had it been just an hour earlier, there could have easily been children around.  Please be more careful.”

Sure, you feel bad, But it was an honest mistake, no one got hurt and you’ll certainly be more careful in the future.

Would you ask the officer to write you a ticket so you could pay the fine anyway?

As noble as we all like to think that we are, my guess is that darn near 100% of us would say no.  However, in the times of the Temple, that might be exactly what happens.

One of the laws in this weeks Torah portion is about a sin offering.  This sacrifice was designed specifically for someone who sinned UNINTENTIONALLY.

Why?  It’s so easy to tell ourselves that there was no real harm done, that it was an accident and we’ve learned our lesson.  But did we really?  If we truly understood the implications of our accidental “crimes” then we wouldn’t be justifying to ourselves how harmless it was.  It’s totally normal, it’s human nature.  And that’s what the Torah is teaching us.

Everything we do, whether on purpose or by accident, is meaningful.  Take it the other way, for instance.  Let’s say you drop $5 and some homeless guy finds it and buys a sandwich.  Did you do a mitzvah?  Of course you did!  Your $5 made it into the hands of a needy person and he was fed.  You didn’t do it intentionally, but the act was done through you, nonetheless.

If our UNintentional acts can have such an impact, can you just imagine how precious an intentional act is?!

Please, do yourself a favor and make the sacrifice.  Do something good on purpose this week.  Charity, tefillin, Shabbat candles, whatever.  You have a tremendous spiritual power.  Use it!

Rabbi Yossi

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