Dvar Torah Parshat Mishpatim 2009 5769 דבר תורה פרשת משפטים

The Torah forewarns us: VEGER LO TONEH VELO TILCHATZENU, “and the Ger you shall not wrong and you shall not oppress…”. (Ex. 22,20)

The Talmud tells us that the Torah mentions in 36 places, and others say in 46 places, that we should be careful in treating the Ger or proselyte. (BM 59b) This indicates how precious the Ger is to Hashem. The question is why this special sentiment.

In Bamidbar Rabbah (8;2) we are given a captivating parable. We read there: this can be compared to a king who had a flock who used to go out to the fields daily and return at night. Once a deer came back with the flock. Daily he continued to go out with the flock, grazed with them and returned with them. When the king was told about this, he had a special affection for it and gave orders that it should be treated well and allowed to go along with the flock. The king was asked why such fondness for the deer. He explained, the flock has no choice, this is its nature. The deer, however, lives in the wilderness and it chose to abandon the vast wilderness and associate with the flock and come and dwell near man. Shall we not show it special consideration?

Similarly we must be grateful to the proselyte who left behind his entire family, his father’s house and his people and all the peoples of the world and has chosen to come to us?

A Ger is a special person who has opted to be a Jew by his own free will. We must be grateful to him and realize the sacrifice he is making and accept him into our fold with open arms and with special appreciation.

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