The Fear of Flesh and Blood
If a man steals [in secret], a bull or a lamb and slaughters or sells it, he shall pay five cattle for the bull and four sheep for the lamb (Shemos 21:37).The disciples of Rabban Yohanan ben Zakkai asked him why the Torah was more severe with a thief (who steals secretly) than with a robber (who steals openly)? He replied, the robber equated the honor of the slave (the people) with the honor of his master whereas the thief does not equate the honor of the slave with the honor of the master (but higher), for as it were, he acts as if the eye of above would not be seeing and the ear of above would not be hearing (Baba Kama 79b).Rashi explains that the thief fears people more than he fears the Creator.The Gemara in Brachos 28b states: When Rabban Yohanan ben Zakkai fell ill, his disciples went in to visit him . They said to him, Master, bless us.
He said to them, may it be G-d's will that the fear of heaven shall be upon you like the fear of flesh and blood. His disciples said to him, is that all? He said to them, if only you can attain this! You can see how important this is, for when a man wants to commit a transgression, he says, "I hope no-one will see me".On the one hand, how can the Torah demand that a simple thief be on the level of the disciples of Rabban Yohanan ben Zakkai? On the other hand, why were the disciples of Rabban Yohanan ben Zakkai blessed to be on such a basic level?.Rav Yaakov Niman in his sefer Darchi Musser answers that even the simplest man can reach the exalted state of fearing one's Creator and even the greatest man needs a blessing not to fall from this state.
Application: What can I do to bring my fear of G-d up to the level of my fear of people?.Give 10 quick answers to the following sentence stem: If I feared G-d as much as I fear people, I would ..Rabbi Eliyahu Mitterhoff is the director of the Global Yeshiva. The Global Yeshiva is devoted to creating a warm and friendly yet serious place for people of all levels to share and discuss Torah and Orthodox Judaism. He envisions this as a great and unprecedented historic opportunity to share, learn, teach and spread Torah on a global level.
By: Eliyahu Mitterhoff
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The Fear of Flesh and Blood - If a man steals [in secret], a bull or a lamb and slaughters or sells it, he shall pay five cattle for the bull and four sheep for the lamb (Shemos 21:37).