Bread and Justice

Today’s daf Pesahim 46 a has a mishna which states: if you have dough that is “deaf, if there is comparable dough in the batch which is chametz, the deaf dough is chametz. What is “deaf” dough? Rashi tells us that deaf dough is that which we are not sure it is leavened or not. It is compared to a deaf person, because it is not “necar” (recognizable) if the deaf person understands us. We are not sure he is clear or understands what we are saying. Rashi says we are not sure if he is hearing us. Rashi uses the word “necar” or recognizable to us whether he understands. Therefore, since the nature of the dough is unknown or not clear (necar) we have to look at other dough in the mix.

In parshat Shoftim, the verse tells us when a Court is judging two litgants “dont recognize the face.” Again the word “necar”. Here Rashi says, at time of court, dont be kind to one or harsh to another, dont make one stand and one sit.

In the case of the dough, Rashi likens the dough to looking into a deaf persons’s face to try to get a sense of what he understands. However, when judging, cautions the court, not to look or be sensitive to one party.

The ShikkerDovid is not sure there is a real connections between the two concepts: Compassion and Justice. All Jews are called upon to excercise compassion. To look at the face of a person and attempt to understand their needs. Juding is for a select few The judges must put aside any feeling of compassion. The Shikkerdovid would like to learn from here that all of us who are not judges are charged with the mitzva of looking into the face of one’s fellow Jew and determing whether he needs our help.

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