The 10 commandments were written upon 2 tablets; the idea being that the first 5 commandments are of the bein adam lamakom ilk (eg Shabbat), whilst the second lot of 5 are of bein adam lacheveiro (eg jealousy). The question, however, is why the commandment to honour parents is number 5; why is it part of the first section of bein adam lemakom - would it not be more appropriately placed in the bein adam lechaveiro section? I'm sure there are many answers to this question (not that I know them), but I want to focus on one answer to bring out a point about the mitzvos of bein adam lechaveiro - namely that they are not devoid of bein adam lemakom content.

The answer is that there is an aspect of honouring one's parents that is indeed part of bein adam lamakom - that is the fact that honouring one's parents necessitates the individual to recognise where they came from (/their source) and give the appropriate honour. This is the way to get to recognition of HaShem too; by instilling the trait of 'recognising one's source' and tracing it back to eventually reach HaShem; the ultimate Source. [This is also the tremendous effect of the middah of hoda'ah -giving thanks, for it also encourages the recognition of the source. Note that we are called yehudim from the root hoda'ah and the first word we say in the morning is modeh. ] Anyway, this point is expanded upon by Rav Gifter. He writes that Shir HaShirim is expressed via man-wife love as a mashal to the love between HaShem and His people. Why not speak directly about HaShem and Bnei Yisrael? To tell us the message that the human middah of ahava in a bein adam lechaveiro relationship is the way to best understand the ahava between HaShem and us. Again, the point is that bein adam lachaveiro aspects/middos are used for bein adam lemakom purposes. Thus, we see that the 'two worlds' of bein adam lemakom and bein adam lechaveiro are not so distinct and separate as might initially appear.

The 6th commandment, not to murder, the first of the bein adam lechaveiros also demonstrates this point. The reason that killing a human is much more severe than killing an animal or a plant, is simply because man was created with tzelem elokim - 'in the image of HaShem.' Thus, what seems the archetypal man-man commandment is actually fuelled by a HaShem-man principle. Consequently, both mitzvos 5 and 6 convey this principle of the connection between these '2 worlds' - and they in turn are put next to each other in ending off the mitzvos bein adam lemakom and starting the mitzvos bein adam lechaveiro respectively.

In fact, Rav Feuer (Rav Gifter's son-in-law as far as I know) points out that the test to see if someone is a genuine person bein adam lemakom is if he gets on with other people. This is because the Jewish People are part of one neshama structure anyway, and those who do not get on with other Jews have simply covered their neshamas a bit too much to feel the unity. This idea describes the destruction of the beis hamikdash for bein adam lacheveiro sins - the ultimate place of bein adam lemakom (the beis hamikdash; korbanos galore) was destroyed for bein adam lechaveiro reasons, showing this connection between the two.

The point is, as pointed out by the Kli Yakar, that the Torah was given to a singular people when we were 'one people with one heart.' HaShem made His covenants with Klal Yisrael as a whole, not individual members (80% of Bnei Yisrael were killed off during the plague of darkness in Egypt and this did not contradict the promise to Avraham that his nation would be taken out of slavery). The breaking up of achdus and bein adam lechaveiro relations turns the unit called Klal Yisrael into a mass of disparate individuals. Thus, the Torah starts with a beis when referring to HaShem's actions in creating the world, and ends with a lamed when referring to 'kol yisrael.' These two letters spell lev (heart); the idea being that the heart is only complete when there is both a singular unit of klal yisrael which contains within it the Presence of HaShem.

In essence, HaShem is our Father; we must make sure that, to remain in the family as His faithful sons, we recognise that the fellow members are brothers.

Add comment

Have something to say?
Please make your comment below!
All comments are reviewed prior to publication. Absolutely NO loshon hara or anything derogatory or hurtful to anyone will be permitted on the website.

Security code