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Daily Aliya for Mishpatim, Revii (4th Aliya)

Aliya Summary: This Aliya, too, introduces us to many new mitzvot: the prohibitions against cursing a judge or leader, consuming meat that was not ritually slaughtered, offering a sacrifice before the animal is eight days old, perjury, and judicial corruption; the commandments to separate all agricultural tithes in their proper order, sanctify the first-born son, return a lost animal to its owner, and help unload an overburdened animal.

One must help even his enemy unload his beast of burden. This mitzvah is one of several that are considered to be the sources of the Jewish concept of Avoiding cruelty to Animals. The Sefer HaChinuch says that if this mitzvah applies to a donkey, how much more so does it apply to humans. If one sees a fellow person loaded down with bundles, it is a mitzvah to help him with them. Torah Tidbits adds a unique perspective to this: If you are the one overburdened and someone offers to help carry a package, etc. – let him. Resist the temptation to automatically say “no thanks, I can manage”, and accept the help. You will be helped and the helper will be fulfilling a mitzvah.

Shlomo Ressler