You are on page 1of 2

Summer Sabbath Themes at the Allied Jewish Chapel June 29August 31 2013

1. Ex 20 } {. , , , - , 13 Thou shalt not covet thy neighbour's house; thou shalt not covet thy neighbour's wife, nor his man-servant, nor his maid-servant, nor his ox, nor his ass, nor any thing that is thy neighbour's. 2. Targum Ps. Jonathan Sons of Israel My people, Ye shall not be covetous companions or partakers with the covetous: nor shall there be seen in the congregations of Israel a covetous people; that your sons may not arise after you to teach one another to have part with the covetous: neither shall any among you covet the wife of his neighbour, nor his servant, nor his handmaid, nor his ox, nor his ass nor anything that belongeth to his neighbour; because through the guilt of covetousness the government breaketh in upon the possessions of men to take them, and the wealthy are made poor, and slavery cometh upon the world. 3. Deut 7 , - - . , -- , -; , } {. - , ; 25 The graven images of their gods shall ye burn with fire; thou shalt not covet the silver or the gold that is on them, nor take it unto thee, lest thou be snared therein; for it is an abomination to the LORD thy God. 26 And thou shalt not bring an abomination into thy house, and be accursed like unto it; thou shalt utterly detest it, and thou shalt utterly abhor it; for it is a devoted (herem) thing. 4. Prov 6 , -; , - . , ; , . , ; , . 23 For the commandment is a lamp, and the teaching is light, and reproofs of instruction are the way of life; 24 To keep thee from the evil woman, from the smoothness of the alien tongue. 25 Lust not after her beauty in thy heart; neither let her captivate thee with her eyelids. 5. Prov. 14 . ; , . , - ; - , 29 He that is slow to anger is of great understanding; but he that is hasty of spirit exalteth folly. 30 A tranquil heart is the life of the flesh; but envy is the rottenness of the bones. 6. Micah 2 , ; , . - , ; - , - . 1 Woe to them that devise iniquity and work evil upon their beds! When the morning is light, they execute it, because it is in the power of their hand. 2 And they covet fields, and seize them; and houses, and take them away; thus they oppress a man and his house, even a man and his heritage. 7. Baba Batra 2a MISHNA I.: Partners in a courtyard surrounded by two houses, each of them belonging to one of the partners, one of whom (or both) may desire to make a Me'hitza (partition) in the yard, the wall is to be built in the middle exactly. .... GEMARA ...the Mishna comes to teach that when both have decided to divide their grounds, one of them can compel the

other to join in building such a wall, even if he object to do so, from which it is to be inferred that looking into the other's property is considered injurious. 8. Maimonides, Robbery 1:11 Desire leads to coveting, and coveting leads to stealing. For if the owner (of the coveted object) does not wish to sell, even though he is offered a good price and is entreated to accept, the person (who covets the object) will come to steal it, as it is written [Micah 2:2], 'They covet fields and (then) steal them.' And if the owner approaches him with a view to reclaiming his money or preventing the theft, then he will come to murder. Go and learn from the example of Achav [Ahab] and Navot [Naboth].1

9. Ibn Ezra on the verse (in Deut.) "There are many proofs [that reward and punishment apply to thoughts and not just actions], and I shall not elaborate, but only refer them: (Mishlei 6:18) 'A heart that invents wicked thoughts...;' (Chron. II 6:8) 'You have performed good, for it was in your heart;' (Psalms 125:4) 'Perform good, O Lord, to those who are good and to those who are upright in their hearts.' And Moses states at the end (of the Torah, Deut 30:14): '...in your mouth and in your heart, to perform it.' The main purpose of all the commandments is to straighten the heart ... and this is evident from the fact that we distinguish between one who sinned intentionally and one who sinned in error." "Now I shall present a parable: Know that a peasant who is of sound mind, and who sees a princess who is beautiful, will not covet her in his heart, to lie with her, for he knows that it is impossible. Do not consider this peasant to be like a madman, who would desire wings to fly to heaven, even though it is impossible. Likewise, a person does not desire to lie with his mother, although she may be beautiful, for he has been accustomed since his youth to know that she is forbidden to him. In the same way, an intelligent person must know that he will merit a beautiful woman or wealth as a result of his wisdom or knowledge, but only if God allots it to him and therefore an intelligent person does not desire it or covet it. When he knows that God has forbidden his neighbor's wife to him, then she is more elevated in his eyes than the princess in the eyes of the peasant. And so he is satisfied with his portion and does not allow his heart to covet and desire something that is not his, for he knows that God does not wish to give it to him; he cannot take it by force or by his thoughts or schemes. He has faith in his Creator, that He will provide for him and do what is good in His eyes." 10. Avot 2:9 (enumeration differs in many editions) Rabban Yochanan ben Zakkai said to them: Go and see which is the good a man shall cherish most. Rabbi Eliezer said, a good eye. Rabbi Joshua said, a good companion. Rabbi Yosi said, a good neighbor. Rabbi Shimon said, foresight. Rabbi Elazar said, a good heart. He said to them: I prefer the words of Elazar ben Arach to your words, for in his words yours are included. 11. Sefer Ha-Chinuch #416 "Do not wonder and ask: But how can it be in one's power to restrain his heart from longing for riches that he may see in his fellow man's possession, when he himself is lacking them all? How can a prohibition be given in the Torah about something which man cannot possibly obey? This matter is not so; none but wicked fools and sinners would speak so. For it is indeed in one's power to restrain himself, his thoughts and his longings, from whatever he wishes. It lies within his free choice and his decision to repel his desire or draw it near, with regard to all matters, as he wishes; he rules his heart and can guide it as he wants. No human thought - whether it be small or great, good or evil - is hidden to God, before Whom all secrets are known, Who seeks out the concealed recesses, Who sees all a person's secret thoughts; nothing is hidden from His eyes. He punishes those who transgress His will in their hearts, and performs kindness until the thousandth generation to those who love Him and devote themselves to His service in their hearts. For there is nothing so good for a man as a good, pure thought, since that is the beginning of all good deeds and their end. And this, it seems, is the significance of the 'good heart' which the Sages praise in Avot (2:9)."

Sources from Maimonides, Ibn Ezra and Sefer Ha-Chinukh are from a talk by Rabbi Elhanan Samet, and are given as translated by Kaeren Fish with only minor editing. http://www.vbm-torah.org/shavuot/shavuot65-res.htm and elsewhere.