Fair and good in the eyes of Hashem

We read in this coming Shabbat's Parasha (6:16-18):"You shall surely observe the commandments of Hashem.. You shall do what is ישר וטוב: fair and good in the eyes of Hashem, so that it will be good for you". Rashi expounds:"Fair and good": compromising, acting beyond the strict demands of the law. The Maharsha comments:"Since the first passuk covers all the types of Mitzvot:"the commandments..His testimonies and His decrees", the next injunction: to do "what is fair and good in the eyes of Hashem", must relate to something which is not included in the Mitzvot, but that you should do מתוך שורת הדין:" go beyond the requirements of the law", because it is "good in the eyes of Hashem", even though He has not commanded it". Rav Baruch Halevi Epstein adds:"Sefer Devarim is called by our Sages ספר הישר: "the book of the upright", because of our passuk. He first asks:"What is so special about this passuk, more than several other psukim in this Sefer which teach proper conduct and mores? "The answer may be found in the teaching of our Sages, on the commandment "Love your neighbor as yourself", that it "is the whole of the Torah". "So too, just as a person would like that others do only that which is "fair and good" to him, he should also conduct himself likewise with them". The Ramban expounds:"Read literally, the passuk mandates that, in observing Hashem"s Mitzvot, you perform them in a way that is "fair and good in the eyes of Hashem", and, if you do so, Hashem promises, "it will be good for you", because Hashem is good to those who are good and fair in their hearts". He adds:"Our Sages derive a nice drasha from this: It refers to going beyond the strict boundaries of the law, to compromising even though we are here first enjoined to strictly keep the Mitzvot, the Torah now adds: even in matters which you are not specifically commanded, have in mind to do that which "is fair and good in Hashem"s eyes", because He loves fairness and good. "This is a great matter although it was not possible to specify in the Torah all of the ways one should conduct himself in his dealings with others, after it has mentioned many of them, such as "you shall not be a tale-bearer", "you shall not seek revenge", and several others, it now returns and lays down a general principle: to do that which is good and fair in all things". Rav Shimshon Raphael Hirsch adds:"The Torah here teaches, that doing what "is fair and good in Hashem"s eyes" should guide all our actions. It is not enough to observe the specific injunctions written in the Torah, but all of our actions are to be in accord with what "is fair and good"- a pillar that requires us to forego some of our rights, if the benefit we lose thereby is outweighed by the benefit of us doing so, of our fellow man. "True, "fair" is the main consideration in justice, that it be clean of any impropriety "good" changes the manner in which this is to be done- when you do that which is "fair", take into account that which is "good in the eyes of Hashem"". The Panim Yafot derives an intriguing teaching from the requirement that what we do should be fair and good "in the eyes of Hashem":"Rashi expounded that "fair and good" refers to compromise and foregoing part of one"s legal rights. "From the words "in the eyes of Hashem", this means that, when in order to enforce his rights, a claimant is required to take an oath, and he knows that his oath is the truth, he should nevertheless forego his rightful claim, as a "forebearance to the honor of Hashem", as our Sages enjoin that one should not take an oath in Hashem"s Name, as only those who fully cleave to Hashem, may do so. "This is not a minor matter, and it is therefore preferable that the person foregoes his claim, by not taking the oath, even though this might lead people to suspect that the reason for his not taking the oath, was that he knew his claim was not valid. "He should rest assured that before the one True Judge, the truth is known: that the reason for his actions was his choice to do that which "is fair and good in the eyes of Hashem". "He will merit that, from Above, he will be rewarded for "allowing" himself to be wrongfully suspected for the honor of Hashem, the Torah here promising:"so that it will be good for you"". Rav Yechezkel Feibl, commenting on the Ramban, states:"Not all men have the same spiritual strengths and abilities. It was therefore not possible that the Torah should command all men to observe the laws which depend on these attributes. "These commandments and warnings that are specified in the Torah, are those which the Divine Wisdom knows all men are capable of observing however, side by side with these, there are others that cannot be equally observed by all, and are therefore mentioned by allusion, for each person to perform according to his own abilities. "This is the meaning of the Ramban"s words. All are obligated to act beyond the strict strictures of justice, to forebear some of their rights to the righteous

Fair and good in the eyes of Hashem
We read in this coming Shabbat's Parasha (6:16-18):"You shall surely observe the commandments of Hashem.. You shall do what is ישר וטוב: fair and good in the eyes of Hashem, so that it will be good for you". Rashi expounds:"Fair and good": compromising, acting beyond the strict demands of the law. The Maharsha comments:"Since the first passuk covers all the types of Mitzvot:"the commandments..His testimonies and His decrees", the next injunction: to do "what is fair and good in the eyes of Hashem", must relate to something which is not included in the Mitzvot, but that you should do מתוך שורת הדין:" go beyond the requirements of the law", because it is "good in the eyes of Hashem", even though He has not commanded it". Rav Baruch Halevi Epstein adds:"Sefer Devarim is called by our Sages ספר הישר: "the book of the upright", because of our passuk. He first asks:"What is so special about this passuk, more than several other psukim in this Sefer which teach proper conduct and mores? "The answer may be found in the teaching of our Sages, on the commandment "Love your neighbor as yourself", that it "is the whole of the Torah". "So too, just as a person would like that others do only that which is "fair and good" to him, he should also conduct himself likewise with them". The Ramban expounds:"Read literally, the passuk mandates that, in observing Hashem"s Mitzvot, you perform them in a way that is "fair and good in the eyes of Hashem", and, if you do so, Hashem promises, "it will be good for you", because Hashem is good to those who are good and fair in their hearts". He adds:"Our Sages derive a nice drasha from this: It refers to going beyond the strict boundaries of the law, to compromising even though we are here first enjoined to strictly keep the Mitzvot, the Torah now adds: even in matters which you are not specifically commanded, have in mind to do that which "is fair and good in Hashem"s eyes", because He loves fairness and good. "This is a great matter although it was not possible to specify in the Torah all of the ways one should conduct himself in his dealings with others, after it has mentioned many of them, such as "you shall not be a tale-bearer", "you shall not seek revenge", and several others, it now returns and lays down a general principle: to do that which is good and fair in all things". Rav Shimshon Raphael Hirsch adds:"The Torah here teaches, that doing what "is fair and good in Hashem"s eyes" should guide all our actions. It is not enough to observe the specific injunctions written in the Torah, but all of our actions are to be in accord with what "is fair and good"- a pillar that requires us to forego some of our rights, if the benefit we lose thereby is outweighed by the benefit of us doing so, of our fellow man. "True, "fair" is the main consideration in justice, that it be clean of any impropriety "good" changes the manner in which this is to be done- when you do that which is "fair", take into account that which is "good in the eyes of Hashem"". The Panim Yafot derives an intriguing teaching from the requirement that what we do should be fair and good "in the eyes of Hashem":"Rashi expounded that "fair and good" refers to compromise and foregoing part of one"s legal rights. "From the words "in the eyes of Hashem", this means that, when in order to enforce his rights, a claimant is required to take an oath, and he knows that his oath is the truth, he should nevertheless forego his rightful claim, as a "forebearance to the honor of Hashem", as our Sages enjoin that one should not take an oath in Hashem"s Name, as only those who fully cleave to Hashem, may do so. "This is not a minor matter, and it is therefore preferable that the person foregoes his claim, by not taking the oath, even though this might lead people to suspect that the reason for his not taking the oath, was that he knew his claim was not valid. "He should rest assured that before the one True Judge, the truth is known: that the reason for his actions was his choice to do that which "is fair and good in the eyes of Hashem". "He will merit that, from Above, he will be rewarded for "allowing" himself to be wrongfully suspected for the honor of Hashem, the Torah here promising:"so that it will be good for you"". Rav Yechezkel Feibl, commenting on the Ramban, states:"Not all men have the same spiritual strengths and abilities. It was therefore not possible that the Torah should command all men to observe the laws which depend on these attributes. "These commandments and warnings that are specified in the Torah, are those which the Divine Wisdom knows all men are capable of observing however, side by side with these, there are others that cannot be equally observed by all, and are therefore mentioned by allusion, for each person to perform according to his own abilities. "This is the meaning of the Ramban"s words. All are obligated to act beyond the strict strictures of justice, to forebear some of their rights to the righteous, this is not simply a leniency- it is דין: justice, not מתוך שורת הדין: a concession on their part. "This is beautifully elucidated in the Gemara (Baba Metzia 83.), which relates that porters hired by the Sage Rabba bar bar Chana broke the barrel they were transporting for him. To compensate for his loss, he seized their clothing whereupon, they complained to Rav, who adjudged that Rabba bar bar Chana was obliged to return their clothing, this being for a person like him, הדין: the law. "Thereupon the porters made a surprising further claim , stating that, as they were indigent and starving, their wages should be paid to them! ". Here too, Rav ruled in their favor, and, when Rabba asked if that was the law, he answered: for a righteous person of your standing, הוא הדין:that is the law!׳. Rav Elya Lopian sees our passuk as a guide to our avodat Hashem:"All that you do, do because "it is fair and good in the eyes of Hashem", meaning: do not have in mind when performing Mitzvot, that you have thereby been relieved of a burden-your sole intent should be: What is good, and what is even better, and fairer, in the eyes of Hashem, in the way that I perform this Mitzvah, because my whole purpose is to give נחת רוח : "pleasure", to my Creator. "This applies both to Mitzvot between man-and-man, and to Mitzvot between man-and-G-d. Whilst its application in the former is obvious, how does it apply in the latter? "It teaches us that we should not feel that we have fulfilled our obligations when we have tefiilin and a talit, and the like, because they meet the mininum requirements of kashrut. We should, in the words of our Sages, seek to "be an adornment to Hashem"- by endeavouring to have the highest quality of tefilin, and the most beautiful talitot and sifrei torah, within our capacity". We will surely then merit to be, in the words of our Sages:"Israel, in whom I take pride". A parting, somber thought, from Rav Lopian:"The Gemara says that Jerusalem was destroyed only because the people insisted on strict justice, and were not willing to act beyond it. "This seems surprising, since the Gemara also related several other severe transgressions because of which this occurred. "The answer is simple: whilst the people were forebearing, and did not insist on their strict rights, measure-for-measure, Hashem similarly did not act with strict justice, and was forebearing. "When the people ceased to be forebearing, and insisted on their strict rights, in dealing with others, Hashem responded, by also ceasing to be forebearing- and decreed that strict justice be imposed, and Jerusalem was destroyed". לרפואת נועם עליזה בת זהבה רבקה ונחום אלימלך רפאל בין זהבה רבקה, בתוך שאר חולי עמנו.