One of the mitzvos found in Ki Seitzei is returning lost property. The first of the four psukim (22:1) on this subject reads ‘do not watch the ox of your friend or his sheep straying and ignore them. You shall return them to your brother.’ And 22:4 reads ‘do not see the donkey of your brother or his sheep falling on the wayside and ignore them. Pull them up.’ The Ohr Hachaim brilliantly reveals a deeper reading and understanding of our two psukim. Explaining that ‘ox’ and ‘sheep’ can refer to people and that ‘your brother’ can refer to HaShem, the Ohr Hachaim proceeds to read the above psukim to pertain to one’s obligation to aid the spiritual plight of one’s friend - as follows: ‘do not watch your friend straying (religiously) and ignore him. You shall return him to HaShem (I.e. get involved and repair your brother’s spiritual situation).’ And he reads the second pasuk to refer to the same concept too. The message? Just as one may not stand by and watch the material situation of a Jew plummet, so too (kal vachomer) must one take active steps to remedy the spiritual downfall of one’s fellow Jew.

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