Pisqa’ 277

Pisqa’ 2771


“Now, if he is a poor man” (Dt.24:12).

I might infer only that

this rule applies to a poor man.

How do I know that

it applies [as well to] a wealthy man?

The Teaching states:

“Now, if he is . . . a man” (Dt.24:12)—

[the rule, therefore, applies too all men equally].

Well, if so, why is it stated:

“A poor man” (Dt.24:12)?

[For it is as if the Holy One were to say:]

“I will rush to exact retribution

on behalf of the impoverished,

before attending to the cause of the wealthy!”2


“You may not recline upon3 his article” (Dt.24:12).

Can you possibly imagine that

he would recline upon his [debtor’s] pledge?

Actually, [the point is that]

you shouldn’t retire [for the night]

while his pledge is in your possession!

“Make every effort to return the pledged article to him” (Dt.24:13)—

this teaches that

you return an object used by day

at [the beginning of] the day,

and an object used by night,

at [the beginning of] the night.

[For example:]

a blanket at nightfall, and a plow at day-break;

but not a blanket at day-break, and a plow at nightfall!


“So that he might retire in his night-shirt and bless you” (Dt.24:13)—

this teaches that he must bless you.

Is it possible to say that

if he blesses you, you are truly blessed,

but if not, you are not truly blessed?

The Teaching states:

“And it will be credited to you as a righteous act” (Dt.24:13)—

out of your very act, you create righteousness.

“And it will be credited to you as a righteous act” (Dt.24:13)—

this teaches that

righteousness ascends

before the Throne of Glory.

And, therefore, it is said:

“Righteousness proceeds from Him,

and directs His steps on the way” (Ps.85:14)—

[even if the poor give no blessing,

the Holy One notices and ascribes merit].

  1. H:269-270;JN2:222-223.
  2. Cf. Pisqa’ot 278.2 and 279.2.
  3. Heb: tishkav; literally, “to lie down.” Here the midrashist focuses on a broader reading (tishkav; “remain overnight”), which surely seems to be intended by the verse-text as well.