“If you should see your friend’s ox or sheep straying, don’t ignore them. Instead return them to your friend. But if your friend is not close by, or you don’t know the owner, bring it to your home and hold onto it until the owner finds you, and then return it to them” (Deuteronomy 22:1-2).
The ancient sages teach us that the Torah is exceedingly careful with language. No phrase is superfluous. Each word or letter is part of the intricate unfolding mysteries concentrated in the Torah.
“The Torah that I am prescribing to you today is not too mysterious or remote from you. It is not in heaven ... it is something that is very close to you” (Deuteronomy 30:11-13).
“You shall not take up a false report” (Exodus 23:2). Steve Leaderman, 38, was on trial this month for failing to disperse, having been arrested on Nov. 30 during the final stand of the Occupy L.A. protest at City Hall Plaza. Tried before a jury, these criminal cases carry up to 100 days in prison and hefty fines.
The facts are horrific. Video captures the brutal attack on the side of a busy street. Onlookers and passers-by don’t come to the victim’s aid. Eventually, the bruised, bleeding half-dead body is attended to by medical personnel, but it is too late. The victim dies.
The story of creation begins again this week in synagogues around the world. The Jewish people make a global reset and roll back our Torah scrolls. Fresh and new, our world is set in motion with organic divine harmony, only to be disrupted by human folly.
“... The sight of the large, modern apartment house on Planty Street was the ultimate in ruthless havoc. ... The immense courtyard was still littered with bloodstained iron pipes, stones and clubs, which had been used to crush the skulls of Jewish men and women. Blackening puddles of blood still remained. ... Blood-drenched papers were scattered on the ground — sticky with gore, they clung to the earth though a strong wind blew through the yard.”