Student Teaching in the New Millenium

True Apologies

In Exodus, Midrash on January 26, 2012 at 8:00 am

I start my morning
Someone shows up to ask me
Why’d you do this wrong?

You asked for it that
way, the day before yesterday.
Has something changed?

Nothing. Just see that
it doesn’t happen again.
We’re ok, ok?

Parsha Bo

And Moses said [to Pharoah]: ‘Thou must also give into our hand sacrifices and burnt-offerings, that we may sacrifice unto the LORD our God.

Exodus 10.25

Why does Pharoah need to offer sacrifices? Weren’t the Israelites going to worship for themselves? Why is Moses imposing his own religion on Pharoah?

Pharoah has dealth with the Israelites unjustly and deceitfully since the beginning of Exodus, Ramban points out. Whether done out of fear or hate or lack of understanding, inflicting pain and suffering on others is wrong.

Avot 1.6 says we should “judge all men in the scale of merit” (Soncino) or “judge all men with scales weighted in their favor” (Living Talmud, by Judah Goldin). What does this mean? Should we call it like we see it? Or should we always give others the benefit of the doubt?

When we make mistakes, we are instructed to make amends. Torah is replete with examples. See the story of Jacob and Esau in Genesis and parsha Mishpatim (Exodus 21.1 – 24.18). Is it necessary to admit when one is wrong to make amends?  Can we make amends without making sacrifice? Is sacrifice proper without kavannah, intent?

Do necessary reparations increase with greater transgressions? Should this be determined by size and scope, large and small? What happens between friends when a silly insult goes un-repaired for years?

When you betray yourself do you hurt others? When you betray others do you hurt yourself?

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