August 24, 2023 / 7 Elul, 5783 • Parshat Teitzei
Issue 783
Dedicated in loving memory of Mrs. Miriam Friedman

Being of Service

You should not see your fellow’s donkey or ox
fallen on the road and ignore them. You must
pick up the load with him. 

Deut. 22:4

Allegorically, this verse can be interpreted as follows:

If you see your fellow’s donkey: If you see your fellow acting like a donkey, a non-kosher animal (i.e., by succumbing to some forbidden desire) –

Or his ox: or even like an ox, a kosher animal (i.e., by succumb-ing to some desire that is technically permitted, but he is indulging in it for materialistic gratification) –

Fallen: This indicates that he has fallen from the behavior associated with an enlightened human being, to the level more associated with animals. In such a case – You must not ignore them. You should pick up the load with him: You should feel a brotherly responsibility to elevate and enlighten your fallen fellow. It is precisely in order to assist him that you have been made aware of his spiritual descent. G-d would not have arranged for you to see him this way unless you were able to help him.

--Daily Wisdom Volume 3