A Taste of Torah – Mishpatim

Written by: Rabbi Mordechai Raizman

Two for One

In this week’s Torah portion, Mishpatim, we find many detailed laws regarding moral and ethical behavior between our fellow human beings and ourselves. One of these mitzvos relates to the sensitivity that one has to have for orphans and widows.  The Torah states, “Every widow and orphan, one should not pain them.” In the next verse it continues, “Im aneh saaneh oso” (If one does pain him) G-d will listen to their cries. The Klei Yakar (commentator from the 1700’s) asks why the redundancy of aneh saaneh. Wouldn’t it be sufficient to say it once? Secondly, the word oso means him. Why is that said in a singular vein when we are referring to orphans in general? Wouldn’t it be better to say if one pains them?

The repetitive use of oso is teaching us a powerful lesson about the effects of our actions. One may think when one is being insensitive to the needs of an orphan or a widow it is only effecting that one person. G-d is telling us that He listens to their cries. We are affecting Him as well. G-d takes a special interest in those that are downtrodden and can be taken advantage of. He is hearing their pleas and cries. The Torah is stressing the effects that we are having on G-d as well. Therefore, mistreating those that are already in pain creates a double pain.

In every community we come across people in these situations. It is our obligation to heighten our sensitivity towards them to give them the strength to carry on.