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Dvar Torah/Parshas Mishpatim Thread- Feb 01, 2019/Chof Vov Shvat

This is the weekly Dvar Torah thread, feel free to share your divrei Torah here. The official Dvar Torah is below.

One of the commandments mentioned in this weeks portion is:

אִם־כֶּ֣סֶף ׀ תַּלְוֶ֣ה אֶת־עַמִּ֗י אֶת־הֶֽעָנִי֙ עִמָּ֔ךְ לֹא־תִהְיֶ֥ה ל֖וֹ כְּנֹשֶׁ֑ה לֹֽא־תְשִׂימ֥וּן עָלָ֖יו נֶֽשֶׁךְ׃

If you lend money to My people, to the poor among you, do not act toward them as a creditor; exact no interest from them

Loan vs. Borrow

There is a general distinction between the two ways of ‘lending’ something; you can give someone a loan, or you can give them something on a borrowed term. When one gives a loan they bear in mind that they will not be receiving the EXACT same money back, rather the value will be returned, albeit in another form. When one borrows from another, they expect that EXACT thing to be returned. (Think: borrowing a friend’s car, phone, etc. You can’t borrow their Tesla X for the day and bring back a battered Honda…)

Our Sages explain that anything that Hashem commands of us, He too undertakes. How would this play out with regard to the commandment of loaning money?

Chassidus explains that Hashem follows this commandment through granting each and every Yid a personal cherished loan; abundant strength, talents, and inner potential. We each possess special qualities and skills that Hashem loans to us. Why is it significant to recognize it as a loan, and not a ‘borrowed’ term? Hashem endows us with capabilities and strengths, talents and skills, and says explicitly ‘this is a loan!’. He expects us to tune into our potential, nurture it, and finally channel our strengths towards serving Him and elevating the world. Hashem ‘loans’ us all these attributes, intending to get paid back in a different form, through us incorporating these abilities towards our Divine service.

Hang on, Chassidus points out further- the word כסף can allude to אהבה. Hashem is providing us with all these unique strengths without us having to lift a finger. It is stemming from a deep, essential love that Hashem harbors for each of us. So we possess incredible potential, but of nearly equal magnitude, it depends on our initiation to tap into it and use our strengths to influence the world for the better.

The fact that this commandment includes the words “לֹא־תִהְיֶ֥ה ל֖וֹ כְּנֹשֶׁ֑ה לֹֽא־תְשִׂימ֥וּן עָלָ֖יו נֶֽשֶׁךְ׃/do not act toward them as a creditor; exact no interest from them”, shares further on the nature of our relationship with Hashem. Following our earlier premise, Hashem completes this detail of the commandment as well. Hashem reacts with abounding love and concern for each Yid.

While we strive to counteract the darkness of exile by remaining steady and sure of who we are and what we are here to achieve, occasionally the suffering and hardships we encounter can feel suffocating and overwhelming. This last little detail in the possuk assures us that no, Hashem does not deal with His children as a ‘creditor’. He isn’t maliciously awaiting our failures, or joyfully calculating our misdoings. He tends to us with boundless love, gives us only what we can handle, and yet expects us to develop and use our potential enormously.

May we all have the drive to tune into our attributes and potential, direct it for the right causes, and effect to elevate the world to a comfortable dwelling place for G-d.

Good Shabbos!

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