Sunday, November 12, 2006

Daf Yomi - Beitzah 17 - Deception is the worst

The Gemara states that we are more concerned about one who employs a ruse than one who violates a rabbinical prohibition intentionally. The reason for this logic is because one who violates a rabbinic ordinance will most likely not cause others to act similar to him, as he is not justified for violating the rabbinic ordinance. Furthermore, the one who violated the ordinance will eventually repent, so we are not concerned that the institution of eruv will be nullified. Regarding one who is employing a ruse, however, he feels that he is permitted to act in this manner, so he will not repent and others will learn from him. We are apt to assume that one who sins intentionally is worse than one who merely tries to get away with something, yet we see from this Gemara how careful one must be when acting deceptively. We find that Yaakov was more concerned about deceiving his father than he was about taking the blessings that belonged to Esav. Yaakov said that if his father would feel him he would be in his father’s eyes like a mocker. The Gemara states that Yaakov was saying that one who deceives someone is akin to an idol worshipper. Similarly, we find that it is worse to steal from someone discreetly than to steal from someone in public. The reason for this is because one who steals discreetly demonstrates that he is afraid of man but he is not concerned that HaShem is observing his actions. There is nothing worse than one who deceives himself, because ultimately he will deceive others and he will deny that HaShem knows everything, which is equivalent to worshiping idols. May HaShem protect us from deceit and falsehood and allow us to study his Torah, which is truth, and HaShem’s seal is truth.