Friday, May 20, 2022

Yevamos 19: An Unbreakable Bond

This daf continues discussing zikah. In spiritual terms, the entire Jewish people are connected to one another with an unbreakable bond, so we all have zikah with each other.

Our sages famously teach, ‘All Jews are guarantors for one another.” If you have ever cosigned for someone, you know that if he defaults on a loan payment, even through no fault of his own, the cosigner must repay the loan. In exactly the same way, we are all guarantors to help our fellow Jews when they are experiencing hardship. This is true both in general, regarding helping our community, as well as specifically when it comes to helping every single Jew in need. There are many mitzvos that pertain to aiding one in need. We should never feel as though fulfilling these mitzvos for those we could help is a matter of choice for us and not an obligation.

“If I wish to redeem myself from spiritual slavery, I must also help my friend. Even if I fail to be of assistance to him in his time of need, I should never feel as though I myself am not touched by my friend’s hardships. On the contrary, I am his cosigner. If by my dereliction he suffers, it is as if I caused his suffering. But when I help him, I actually help myself as well” (based on Chayei Shlomo, p. 25).

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