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Dvar Torah by Rabbi Zelig Pliskin

Dvar Torah by Rabbi Zelig Pliskin

The Torah states:”You shall not wrong a convert to Judaism; neither shall you oppress him, for you were strangers in the land of Egypt” (Ex. 22:20)

The Torah commands us not to insult a convert or hurt his feelings. The Chasam Sofer states on this verse that someone might think that a convert has not yet fully accepted upon himself a wholehearted relationship with the Almighty. Therefore, he might say something that is a put-down to this convert.

We need to realize that a person who sincerely accepts upon himself to change has the ability to change in an extremely short time. This is exemplified in the story of the great sage Resh Lakish. Originally, he was the head of a gang of robbers. When he resolved to study Torah, an immediate change took place within him.

For this reason, the Torah reminds us in this verse that “you were strangers in the land of Egypt.” Though there were Israelites who reached very low spiritual levels in Egypt, soon after they were liberated, they entered into a covenant with the Almighty and were entirely changed. When someone is sincere in his acceptance of Torah values, we must be very careful not to imply that he has not really changed.

2020 Sandton Shul Batmitzvah Ceremony