Parshas Ki Tetzei
By Rabbi Shmuel Gluck
There’s a well-known Halacha that people aren’t allowed to eat before feeding their animals. The Pele Yoeitz (in the essay titled Ba’alei Chaim) extends that Halacha, as follows: People must take care of anyone who relies on them for their needs. This includes their servants, children, and spouses.
The Pele Yoeitz’s addition to the Halacha should shatter the attitude that many people have, that those “under them” should serve them, versus the Torah’s concept that (in many areas of life) people must “serve” those who rely on them. People should remember that those who need them can easily feel neglected. It’s the responsibility of those who take care of others, to make sure that those under their care feel wanted, and important, and don’t feel like second class people.
It’s the responsibility of those who take care of others, to make sure that those under their care feel wanted, and important, and don’t feel like second class people.
In this Parsha, the Posuk says: Lo Sa’ashouk Sochir Oni V’eveyon. Don’t hold back the wages of your worker. The Torah then explains why they shouldn’t. V’eilov Hu Nosei Es Nafsho, because he looks to the employer for his life. Since they rely on the employer, the employer becomes responsible to take care of their needs.
Everyone has at least one person, if not multiple people, who look to them for some form of support. This expectation alone creates a responsibility for them to take care of the others, even before they take care of themselves. Please don’t take this responsibility lightly.
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