Torah im Small Jugs

What is the role of the laws of business listed in Choshein Mishpat (the quarter of the Tur and Shulchan Aruch on financial matters)?

One approach could be that working for income is a necessary evil. It’s Hashem’s punishment to Adam for eating the forbidden fruit — “with the sweat of the brow shall you eat bread” (Bereishis 3:19). However, by following these laws these activities are kosher, they are rendered permissible.

But if all it offered were the ability to deal with a necessary evil, we would have difficulty understanding a gemara about this week’s parashah.

Yaaqov crosses his family and almost all of his belongings across the river, and has to return for some small vessels. There, on the far side of the river, he encounters and battles an angel until dawn.

“And Yaaqov was left alone.” (Bereishis 32:25) R. Eleazar said: He remained behind for the sake of some small jars. From here [we learn] that to the righteous their money is dearer than their body. Why [do they care] so greatly? Because they do not extend their hands to robbery.

- Chullin 91a

At first this is very hard to understand. Are tzaddiqim, righteous people, supposed to be that materialistic? However, as we see from the answer, it’s not the monetary value of their belongings, but their spiritual value that holds the attraction. It is their sanctity that holds the attraction. It is their sanctity of being acquired within the laws of Choshen Mishpat. The Gemara teaches that the honest business deal is not a concession to reality, but part of the ideal.

This can be understood using the approach of Rav Yechiel Ya’akov Weinberg, the author of the Seridei Eish. In a memorial volume, he explains that Rav Samson Raphael Hirsch’s motto of Torah im Derekh Eretz (TIDE)– Torah with the way of the world – is about the proper marriage between the Torah and the “real world”. The union between Torah and Derech Eretz in that tiny word “im” is not haphazard. In a collection of essays titled “HaRav Shimshon Rephael Hirsch Mishnaso veShitaso“, Rav YY Weinberg writes:

The Torah, according to Rav Hirsch, is the force that gives form. Form, to Aristotle’s thought, means a thing’s essential nature — in distinction to the substance from which it is embodied. Derech Eretz is merely the matter on which Torah works.

In Aristotelian physics, all objects are composed of two things: substance and form. Substance is the inherent matter. In Greek, the word for substance is “hyle”. The Ramban uses this term in his commentary on Bereishis 1:1. The initial beri’ah ex nihilo in v. 1 was of shapeless hyle, which was then given form during the yetzirah of the rest of the chapter. Form is the shape and other properties the substance takes on. But as the design adage goes, “Form follows function.” An object is shaped to serve an intended function. Form is not only the shape that the object assumes, but also its use and its goal.

When the Torah speaks of qedushah, it usually uses the preposition “le-“, “to”. The kohen gadol wore a tzitz that reads “Qadosh laShem“, “sanctified to G-d”. In the marriage formula, the chasan tells the kallah that she is thereby “mequdeshes li“, “consecrated to me”. We use the term “qadosh” when something is consecrated for a particular function, from something assuming a Form.

Torah defines the goal of our lives, the function for which we were created. It therefore dictates the form that we give the things we do. The resulting life has qedushah. To Yaaqov Avinu, his possessions were holy because they were the substance to which he applied the Torah’s blueprint.

It indicates that the halachic business deal is not a concession to reality, but part of the ideal. Observance of the laws of Choshein Mishpat doesn’t merely render these activities kosher, it’s maqdish, it brings sanctity, it makes even business dealings sacred.

When we look at Eisav in this light, the see that he took the exact opposite approach. The Torah (Bereishis 25:28) explains Yitzchaq’s attraction to Esav with “ki tzayid befiv” which the medrash (quoted by Rashi ac loc) understands to mean “he used his mouth to ensnare”. Esav would impress his father with shows of religiosity, asking questions like the correct way to tithe salt, knowing full well that salt isn’t tithed.

Seforno understands this pasuk not to mean that Yitzchaq loved Eisav instead of Yaaqov, but rather that “Yitzchaq also loved Eisav even though he knew he was not as whole as Yaaqov.” Yitzchak originally dreamed that his sons would live together in a partnership – Yaaqov would study Torah and Eisav would provide the means with which to do so. Eisav did commit himself to the land, but he became an ish sadeh, a person who is defined by the field, rather than learning the proper path in this world, derekh eretz. He therefore fit the Torah to his own purposes, inverting the form and the substance.

To Eisav, Torah was a tool, something you manipulate, to gain material ends.

Rashi quotes Bereishis Rabba (32:25) that the identity of the angel battled was the guardian angel of Esav’s children, the nation of Edom. The confrontation between Yaaqov and Edom’s mal’akh was a fundamental event about the relationship between the idealism of Torah and the realism of being in this world. When Yaaqov embodied the proper relationship of physical and spiritual, when he saw the holiness one can imbue even the purchasing of small jars, that was when he faced the specter of Eisav.

Semag – why we’re still in galus

The Semag (Seifer Mitzvos Gadol; written by R’ Moshe from Coucy, France early 13th cent., one of the last Tosafosts, a student of R’ Yehudah haChasid, and an admirer of the Rambam) writes the following in Asei #74 (“Returning Stolen Items”):

כבר דרשתי לגלות ירושלים אשר בספרד ולשאר גלויות אדום כי עתה שהאריך הגלות יותר מדאי יש לישראל להבדיל מהבלי העולם ולאחוז בחותמו של הקב”ה שהוא אמת ושלא לשקר לא לישראל ולא לגוים ולא להטעותם בשום עניין ולקדש עצמם אף במותר להם שנאמר (צפניה ג, יג) שארית ישראל לא יעשו עולה ולא ידברו כזב ולא ימצא בפיהם לשון תרמית וכשיבא הקב”ה להושיעם יאמרו הגוים בדין עשה כי הם אנשי אמת ותורת אמת בפיהם אבל אם יתנהגו עם הגוים ברמאות יאמרו ראו מה עשה הקב”ה שבחר לחלקו גנבים ורמאים ועוד כתוב (הושע ב, כה) וזרעתיה לי בארץ כלום זורע אדם כור אחד אלא למצוא כמה כורים כך זורע הקב”ה [את] ישראל בארצות כדי שיתוספו עליהם גרים (פסחים פז, ב) וכל זמן שהם מתנהגים בהן ברמאות מי ידבק בהם.

I already expounded to the exiled from Jerusalem who are in Spain and the other Roman exiles that now that the exile has gone on far too long, it is appropriate for Israel to separate from the vanities of the world and gram onto the signet of the Holy One, blessed be He, which is truth, and not to lie neither to Jew nor to gentile. Not to mislead them in any way. To sanctify themselves even in what is permitted to them, as it says, “The remnant of Israel do not commit sin, do not speak lies, and one won’t find a false tongue in their mouths.” (Tzefaniah 3:13) And when Hashem comes to save them, the nations will say, “It was done justly, for they are a people of truth and the Torah of truth is in their mouths.” But if they act with the gentiles with trickery, they will say, “See what the Holy One, blessed be He did, that chose for His portion thieves and con-men.” Also, it says, “I will plant her [the Jewish People] for myself in the land…” (Hosheia 2:25) A person doesn’t plant a kur [of seed] but to produce numerous kurim. So too the Holy One, blessed be He, planted Israel among the lands so that converts will join them (Pesachim 87b) and every time that they conduct themselves with trickery, who will attach to them?

Qitzur Shulchan Arukh – 190:3

ג: כְּשֵׁם שֶׁצָּרִיךְ הָאָדָם לְהִזָּהֵר בְּגוּפוֹ שֶׁלֹּא לְאַבְּדוֹ וְשֶׁלֹּא לְקַלְקְלוֹ וְשֶׁלֹּא לְהַזִּיקוֹ, כְּמוֹ שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר, “הִשָּׁ֣מֶר לְךָ֩ וּשְׁמֹ֨ר נַפְשְׁךָ֜ מְאֹ֗ד”, כָּךְ צָרִיךְ לְהִזָּהֵר בְּמָמוֹנוֹ שֶׁלֹּא לְאַבְּדוֹ וְשֶׁלֹּא לְקַלְקְלוֹ וְשֶׁלֹּא לְהַזִּיקוֹ. וְכָל הַמְשַּׁבֵּר כְּלִי, אוֹ קוֹרֵעַ בֶּגֶד, אוֹ מְאַבֵּד מַאֲכָל אוֹ מַשְׁקֶה אוֹ מְמָאֲסָם, אוֹ זוֹרֵק מָעוֹת לְאִבּוּד, וְכֵן הַמְקַלְקֵל שְׁאָר כָּל דָּבָר שֶׁהָיָה רָאוּי שֶׁיֵהָנוּ בוֹ בְּנֵי אָדָם, עוֹבֵר בְּלֹא-תַעֲשֶׂה, שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר, “לֹֽא־תַשְׁחִ֤ית אֶת־עֵצָהּ֙ [לִנְדֹּ֤חַ עָלָיו֙ גַּרְזֶ֔ן כִּ֚י מִמֶּ֣נּוּ תֹאכֵ֔ל וְאֹת֖וֹ לֹ֣א תִכְרֹ֑ת]” וְגוֹמֶר

Just as a person must be careful with his body not to lose [ie kill] it or destroy it or damage it, as it says “”[Just] guard for yourself and guard your life-soul a lot…” (Devarim 4:9; as discussed in the previous se’if) similarly he must be careful with his money not to lose it, ruin it, or damage it. Anyone who breaks a utensil or tears a garment or destroys food or drink or makes them disgusting [inedible] or throws money out to waste, and similarly anyone who ruins any other thing that is fitting for people to enjoy violates a prohibition. As it says, “[When you besiege a city for a long time, in making war against it to take it] do not destroy its trees by wielding an axe against them, because you could eat from them — so do not cut them down” etc… (Devarim 20:19)


The final law in our series is that of bal tashchis, needless waste. I wrote a longer piece on why the Torah places such value on money and why Yaaqov bothered to risk facing Esav to go back across the river for a few small jugs. To quote the conclusion, which is a fitting conclusion to our entire survey:

Why did Yaakov go back for a small jug? Didn’t he just gratefully leave Eisav behind in that area, happy that there was no fighting? Doesn’t that mean it was dangerous?

Rashi on Vayishlach quotes Chazal that Yaaqov went back because the righteous consider their money precious, because they earn their money honestly. Proper business ethics isn’t “just” the permissable way to conduct business, it actually sanctifies the activity. And therefore, the pachim qetanim were sacred to Yaaqov, not to be simply left behind.

Eisav’s role in the ideal universe was mastered by Yaaqov — he internalized the notion of the role of the physical and how to sanctify the physical. Of course at that point Yaaqov is challenged by Eisav’s guardian and succeeds.  …

Sha’ul’s mission for his kingship [after he is annointed using the same jug] is to vanquish Amaleiq. Amaleiq is a nation whose namesake forefather was Eisav’s grandson. …

The Shunamit was supported in her time of need by the rewards of Yaaqov’s sacred toiling in this world [through oil Elisha poured from that jug into all the vessels she could find or borrow]. The money which was earned through honest and forthright business dealings will always suffice.

Which brings us to Chanukah. … And then they find the jug of oil. The jug of holy wordliness, of sanctifying the universe through halakhah. Not disdain for the physical or the beautiful, but knowing its value — as a tool. And with that concept the Chashmonaim revived Jewish loyalty, disbanded Hellenist oppression, and restored the concept of Jewish autonomy for the next two centuries. And when we couldn’t maintain that, we still had the notion that there was a role for Yefetic culture but not a clear idea of what that role was, in stepped Edom. Through that struggle with Edom, we can restore the world to “two great lights” — Yisrael and Eisav working in harmony.

הדרן עלך

קיצור שולחן ערוך דיני ממנות

והדרך עלן!

Qitzur Shulchan Arukh – 190:2

ב: וְכֵן כָּל מִכְשׁוֹל שֶׁיֶשׁ בּוֹ סַכָּנַת נְפָשׁוֹת, מִצְוַת-עֲשֵׂה לַהֲסִירוֹ וּלְהִשָׁמֵר מִמֶּנּוּ וּלְהִזָּהֵר בַּדָּבָר יָפֶה, שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר, “הִשָּׁ֣מֶר לְךָ֩ וּשְׁמֹ֨ר נַפְשְׁךָ֜ מְאֹ֗ד”. וְאִם הִנִּיחַ וְלֹא הֵסִיר אֶת הַמִּכְשׁוֹלִים הַמְבִיאִים לִידֵי סַכָּנָה, בִּטֵּל מִצְוַת-עֲשֵׂה וְעָבַר בְּ“וְלֹֽא־תָשִׂ֤ים דָּמִים֙”., כְּגוֹן אִם סֻלָּם רָעוּעַ עוֹמֵד בְּבֵיתוֹ וַחֲצֵרוֹ, וְכֵן הַמְגַדֵּל כֶּלֶב רָע

Similarly, any stumbling block [or danger in general] that has some risk to lives, there is an obligation to remove it, to guard from it, and to be very careful in the matter. As it says, “[Just] guard for yourself and guard your life-soul a lot…” (Devarim 4:9). If he put it down and did not move the hazards that bring one to sanger, he neglected the obligation and violated “do not place [in your home] blood” (Devarim 22:8 [as discussed in the previous se'eif]). For example, if he leaves a broken ladder standing in his home or yard, or if he raises an evil dog.

Qitzur Shulchan Arukh – 190:1

סִימָן קצ – הִלְכוֹת [מַעֲקֶה] שְמִירַת הַגּוּף וּבַל תַּשְחִית

190: Laws of [Railings,] Personal Care, and Not Wasting

א:מִצְוַת עֲשֵׂה לַעֲשׂוֹת מַעֲקֶה לְגַגּוֹ, שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר, “וְעָשִׂ֥יתָ מַעֲקֶ֖ה לְגַגֶּ֑ךָ”. גֹּבַהּ הַמַּעֲקֶה אֵינוֹ פָּחוֹת מֵעֲשָׂרָה טְפָחִים, וִיהֵא חָזָק כְּדֵי שֶׁיִשָׁעֵן אָדָם עָלָיו וְלֹא יִפּוֹל. גַגּוֹת שֶׁלָּנו שֶׁאֵין מִשְׁתַּמְשִׁין בָּהֶם, פְּטוּרִין. וְאָמְנָם לֹא הַגַּג בִּלְבַד חַיָב בַּמַּעֲקֶה, אֶלָּא כָּל דָּבָר שֶׁיֶשׁ בּוֹ סַכָּנָה, שֶׁיִכָּשֵל בּוֹ אָדָם וְיָמוּת, חַיָב בְּמַעֲקֶה וְתִקּוּן. וְכָל הַמַּנִּיחוֹ בְּלִי מַעֲקֶה, בִּטֵל מִצְוַת-עֲשֵׂה וְעָבַר עַל לֹא-תַעֲשֶׂה, שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר, “וְלֹֽא־תָשִׂ֤ים דָּמִים֙ בְּבֵיתֶ֔ךָ”. כְּגוֹן מִי שֶׁיֶשׁ לוֹ בּוֹר בְּתוֹךְ חֲצֵרוֹ, חַיָב לַעֲשֹוֹת לוֹ חֻלְיָא גְּבוֹהָה עֲשָׂרָה טְפָחִים אוֹ לַעֲשׂוֹת לוֹ כִּסּוּי שֶׁלֹֹּא יִפּוֹל בּוֹ אָדָם

There is a positive obligation to make a railing for his roof, as it says “[When you build a new house], you will make a railing for your roof [and you will not place blood in your house if someone were to fall from it.]” (Devarim 22:8). The height of the railing can not be less than 10 tefachim [31.4"-37.7"] and must be strong enough that someone can rest against it and not fall.

Our roofs, which people do not use, are exempted.

However, not only the roof alone requires a railing, but also any thing which has a danger that someone can trip-up on and die, requires a railing and fixing. Anyone who leaves it wirhout a railing, ignored an obligation and violated a prohibition, as it says “and you will not place blood in your house.” (ibid) For example, someone who has a pit in his yeard, he is obligated to make a ring for it 10 tefachim high or to make a cover for it so that no one would fall into it.


The law of ma’aqeh, railings, is not actually about being safe. The word “gagekh — your roof” is taken to exclude shuls and batei medrash. Which would make little sense if the point were safety, as they equally need to be safe. As communal areas, we would actually need to be more careful.

Rather, “do not stand by your friend’s blood” would be sufficient to obligate such railings in cases where there is a real danger. Here the issue is to inculcate a culture of safety in the property owner, tooturn even cases where the danger is negligable into a mussar exercise in caring for others’ safety. This is why the obligation depends on the existence of a private owner (or owners — partnerships are also obligated).

The entire message of the mitzvah is encoded in a single letter of the verse “לְגַגֶּ֑ךָ — your roof”.

Qitzur Shulchan Arukh – 189:6

ה: בְּנֵי חֲבוּרָה שֶׁאֵרַע לְאֶחָד מֵהֶם שֶׁרַגְלֵי חֲמוֹרוֹ רָעוּעוֹת, אֵין בְּנֵי חֲבוּרָה רַשָּׁאִים לִפָּרֵד עִם חֲמוֹרֵיהֶם וּלְהַנִּיחוֹ לְבַדּוֹ בַדָּרֶך. אֲבָל אִם נָפַל חֲמוֹרוֹ וְאֵינוֹ יָכוֹל עוֹד לֵילֵךְ כְּלָל, רַשָּׁאִים לִפָּרֵד מִמֶּנּוּ, וְאֵין צְרִיכִין לְהִתְעַכֵּב בִּשְׁבִילוֹ יוֹתֵר מִדָּי. וְכֵן בְּנֵי חֲבוּרָה שֶׁנּוֹסְעִין בַּעֲגָלוֹת, וְאֵרַע לְאֶחָד מֵהֶם אֵיזֶה קִלְקוּל, שֶׁצָּרִיךְ לִשְׁהוֹת מְעַט לְתַקֵן, אֵין חֲבֵרָיו רַשָּׁאִים לִפָּרֵד מִמֶּנּוּ, אֶלָּא אִם כֵּן צָרִיךְ לְהִתְעַכֵּב הַרְבֵּה יוֹתֵר מִדָּי

Members of a group [from context: a caravan] in which one of them happened to have his donkey split its hooves, the members of the group are not allowed to separate [from him] with their donkeys and leave him alone on the way. But, if his donkey fell, and is not able to walk anymore at all, then they are permitted to separate from him, and they do not have to be held up for him overly much. Similarly people in a group who are traveling with wagons, and one of them happen to have some problem that he must wait a little to fix it, his partners are no allowed to separate from him, but [they may] if he is held up for a lot.

Qitzur Shulchan Arukh – 189:5

ה: כְּתִיב, “כִּֽי־תִרְאֶ֞ה חֲמ֣וֹר שֹׂנַאֲךָ֗ רֹבֵץ֙ תַּ֣חַת מַשָּׂא֔וֹ” וְגוֹ’, שׂוֹנֵא זֶה לֹא מֵהַגּוֹיִם הוּא, – שֶׁהֲרֵי אֵינָם בְּמִצְוַת טְעִינָה וּפְרִיקָה, אֶלָּא מִשּׁוּם צַעַר בַּעֲלֵי חַיִים, אֶלָּא מִיִשְׂרָאֵל. וְהֵיאַךְ יִהְיֶה יִשְׂרָאֵל שׂוֹנֵא לְ יִשְׂרָאֵל, וְהַכָּתוּב אוֹמֵר, “לֹֽא־תִשְׂנָ֥א אֶת־אָחִ֖יךָ בִּלְבָבֶ֑ךָ”. אָמְרוּ חֲכָמִים, כְּגוֹן שֶׁהוּא לְבַדּוֹ רָאָהוּ שֶׁעָבַר עֲבֵרָה, וְהִתְרָה בוֹ וְלֹא חָזַר, הֲרֵי מְצֻוֶּה לִשְׂנֹאתוֹ עַד שֶׁיַעֲשֶה תְשׁוּבָה וְיָשׁוּב מֵרִשְׁעָתוֹ. וְאַף-עַל-פִּי שֶׁעֲדַיִן לֹא עָשָׂה תְשׁוּבָה, אִם מְצָאוֹ בְּצַעַר עַל מַשָּׂאוֹ, מִצְוָה לִפְרֹק וְלִטְעֹן עִמּוֹ וְלֹא יַנִּיחֶנּוּ כָּךְ, כִּי שֶׁמָּא יִשְׁהֶה בִּשְׁבִיל מָמוֹנוֹ וְיָבוֹא לִידֵי סַכָּנָה, וְהַתּוֹרָה הִקְפִּידָה עַל נַפְשׁוֹת יִשְׂרָאֵל, בֵּין רְשָׁעִים בֵּין צַדִּיקִים, מֵאַחַר שֶׁהֵם נִלְוִים אֶל ה’ וּמַאֲמִינִים בְעִקַּר הַדָּת, שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר, “אֱמֹ֨ר אֲלֵיהֶ֜ם חַי־אָ֣נִי׀ נְאֻ֣ם׀ אֲ-דֹנָ֣י יְ-הוִ֗-ה אִם־אֶחְפֹּץ֙ בְּמ֣וֹת הָרָשָׁ֔ע כִּ֣י אִם־בְּשׁ֥וּב רָשָׁ֛ע מִדַּרְכּ֖וֹ וְחָיָ֑ה…”

When it says “When you see the donkey of one you hate struggling under its burden” etc… (Shemos 23:5), this “hated person” isn’t from the non-Jews, for they aren’t within the mitzvah of loading and unloading [animals] except because [of the prohibition against causing “pain to living things” — only a Jew is.

How is it possible for a Jew to be hated by another Jew, since the verse says “Do not hate your brother in your heart[, you shall surely rebuke your compatriot, and not carry a sin for him]” (Vayiqra 19:17)? The sages said, for example, if he personally and alone saw the person commit [a heinous] sin, and he warned him of it and he did not repent, it is a mitzvah to hate him until he does teshuvah and returns from his evil.

Even though he didn’t yet do teshuvah, if you find in in pain because of his burden [on an animal] it is a mitzvah to unload and load [the animal] with him and not leave him thus. For maybe he will wait for the sake of his money and come to danger, and the Torah is careful about the lives of Jews, whether evil whether righteous, since they are consecrated to Hashem and believe in the essence of the faith, as it says “Tell them: As I ‘Live’, says the L-rd Hashem, if I had any desire for the death of the wicked, rather, that the wicked return from his way and live; [return, return from your evil ways; for why must you die, house of Israel?” (Yechezqeil 33:17)


The piece about hating another Jew has some interesting facets:

  1. The assumption is that since the Torah doesn’t allow a Jew to hate another (under normal circumstances), there is no way the verses pertaining to loading and unloading animals could possibly refuse to someone who hates another despite the prohibition. This is interesting as hatered is an emotion, and thus many people will inadvertantly violate the prohibition of “you shall not hate”.
  2. The need for the person to be a solitary witness is so that:
    1. he knows that the person is a sinner without relying on lashon hara or rumor and
    2. he has no recourse to testify in beis din as that requires two witnesses.
  3. Even while the person still embraces evil, we must love him as Hashem does, as we see our brother’s still untapped potential to return to the nation’s calling. “That the wicked turn from his way and live.”

Qitzur Shulchan Arukh – 189:4

ד: בֶּהֱמַת גוֹי, אִם הָיָה הַגּוֹי מְחַמֵּר אַחַר בְּהֶמְתּוֹ, בֵּין ֹשֶהַמַּשָׂא הוּא שֶׁל ישְׂרָאֵל בֵּין שֶׁהוּא ֹשֶל גּוֹי, אֵינוֹ חַיָב, רַק לִפְרֹק, מִשּׁוּם צַעַר בַּעֲלֵי-חַיִים, וְיָכוֹל לְקַבֵּל שָׂכָר עַל זֶה. אֲבָל לִטְעֹן, אֵינוֹ חַיָב כְּלָל, רַק אִי אִיכָּא מִשּׁוּם אֵיבָה. וְאִם אֵין שָׁם גּוֹי, אֶלָּא יִשְׂרָאֵל מְחַמֵּר אַחַר הַבְּהֵמָה, חַיָב גַּם כֵּן לִטְעֹן מִשּׁוּם צַעַר הַיִשְׂרָאֵל. וְכֵן בֶּהֶמַת יִשְׂרָאֵל וְהַמַּשָּׂא ֹשֶל גּוֹי, חַיָב לִפְרֹק וְלִטְעֹן מִשּׁוּם צַעַר הַיִשְׂרָאֵל

The animal of a non-Jew, if the non-Jew is driving one of his animals, whether the burden is a Jews or whether it’s a non-Jews, he is not obligate [in the above two prohibitions]. He only has to remove the load, because of [the prohibition against causing] “pain to living things”, and he is permitted to accept pay for it. However, to load [the animal], he is not obligated at all — except if there is a possibility of enmity [by not helping].

But if there is no non-Jew there, rather a Jew who is driving the animal, he is also obligated to load [the animal] because of the pain of the Jew. Similar if it’s a Jew’s animal and a non-Jew’s burden [being carried by it], he must both unload and load [the animal] because of the pain of the Jew.

Qitzur Shulchan Arukh – 189:2-3

ב: פָּרַק וְטָעַן וְחָזַר וְנָפַל, חַיָב לִפְרֹק וְלִטְעֹן פַּעַם אַחֶרֶת, וַאֲפִלּוּ מֵאָה פְעָמִים, שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר, עָזֹב תַּעֲזֹב, הָקֵם תָּקִים עִמּוֹ. לְפִיכָךְ צָרִיךְ לֵילֵךְ עִמּוֹ עַד פַּרְסָה, שֶׁמָּא יִצְטָרֵךְ לוֹ, אֶלָּא אִם כֵּן אוֹמֵר לוֹ בַּעַל הַמַּשָּׂא, אֵינִי צָרִיךְ לָךְ

If he unburdened and loaded [the animal] and it fell again, he is obligated to unburden and load it another time, even 100 times, as it says “you shall surely release it”, “you shall surely put it up with him”. [Literally, "release you shall release", and "set up, you shall set up with him"; this lesson is being derived from the doubling of the language used to denote "surely".]

Therefore, you must go with him up to a parsah [2.4-2.88 miles], because maybe he will need him, unless the person with the package to be carried says to him “I do not need you.”

ג: מִצְוַת פְּרִיקָה, צָרִיךְ לַעֲשׂוֹת בְּחִנָּם. אֲבָל לִטְעֹן, אֵינוֹ מְחֻיָב אֶלָּא בְּשָׂכָר, וְכֵן בְּעַד מַה שֶּׁהוֹלֵך עִמּוֹ, מְחֻיָב לְֹשַלֵּם לוֹ

The mitzvah of unloading [an animal] must be done [even] for free. However, to load [an animal], he is not obligated unless he is paid, and similarly for his traveling with him [see above], he must pay him. [Presumably because unloading the animal is an exercise in compassion for the animal, but reloading it is more a service for its owner.]


I am wondering how generalizable the obligation of “loading an animal” is. Does it mean there is a general duty to accept a job that would aid another?

Qitzur Shulchan Arukh – 189:1

סִימָן קפט – הִלְכוֹת פְּרִיקָה וּטְעִינָה

189: Laws of Loading and Unloading Animals

א: מִי שֶׁפָּגַע בַּחֲבֵרוֹ בַּדֶּרֶךְ וּבְהֶמְתּוֹ רוֹבֶצֶת תַּחַת מַשָּׂאָהּ, בֵּין שֶׁהָיָה עָלֶיהָ מַשָּׂא הָרָאוּי לָהּ, בֵּין שֶׁהָיָה עָלֶיהָ יוֹתֵר מִמַּה שֶׁרָאוּי לָהּ, הֲרֵי זֶה מְצֻוֶה לְסַיְעוֹ לִפְרֹק מֵעָלֶיהָ, שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר, “עָזֹ֥ב תַּעֲזֹ֖ב עִמּֽוֹ”. וּלְאַחַר שֶׁפָּרַק, לֹא יַנִּיחַ אֶת חֲבֵרוֹ בְּצַעַר וְיֵלֵךְ לוֹ, אֶלָּא יַעֲזוֹר לוֹ לַחֲזוֹר וְלִטְעוֹן עָלֶיהָ, שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר,”הָקֵ֥ם תָּקִ֖ים”. וְאִם הִנִּיחַ אֶת חַבֵרוֹ וְלֹא פָרַק וְלֹא טָעַן, בִּטֵּל מִצְוַת-עֲשֵׂה וְעָבַר עַל מִצְוַת-לֹא-תַעֲשֶׂה, שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר, “לֹֽא־תִרְאֶה֩ אֶת־חֲמ֨וֹר אָחִ֜יךָ” וְגוֹ

Someone who encounters his friend on the way, and his animal is struggling under its burden, whether it was a burden that is appropriate for it, whether it was a burden that was more than appropriate for it, there is a mitzvah to help him remove it from her, as it says, “[When you see the donkey of someone who hates you struggling under its burden and you pause from helping it,] you shall surely help it with him.” (Shemos 23:5)

After you remove [the burden] do not leave your friend in trouble and go off from him, rather help him put it back and burden the animal [correctly], as it says, “[You shall not see your brothers donkey or his ox fallen on the road, and you hide yourself from them] you shall surely pick it up [with him].” (Devarim 22:4)

And if someone leaves his friend, and didn’t unburden or burden [the animal in need], he neglected an obligation and violated a prohibition, as it says “You shall not see your brothers donkey or his ox fallen on the road…” (Ibid.)