Dvar Torah Mishpatim 4 2004 – דבר תורה משפטים 5764

The Torah this week contains the famous expression of AYIN TACHAT AYIN, “an eye for an eye”. The English word “for” is not a very good translation for the Hebrew word TACHAT. The Hebrew means “instead of” or “in place of”. The Hebrew word BE’AD would have meant “for”.

Because the Torah says TACHAT and not BE’AD, Chazal tell us that it does not mean and eye for an eye literally but rather it means money (Kesef) instead of and eye.

Some Chassidic Rabbi once explained that the word TACHAT also means “under”. He said the Torah, by using this word, is telling us to use the letters under the letters of the word AYIN. Under (after) the letter Ayin is the letter Peh. After Yod is Kaf. After Nun is Samech. These three letters, Peh, Kaf and Samech, rearranged spell “Kesef” or “money”.

This may be a bit far fetched, but it does emphasize that every word in the Torah is important and has a special significance. That is why we are so careful when we read the Torah not to allow any mistakes and why the slightest error in its writing makes the Torah invalid for use.

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