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Daily manna from the Torah by Dr Ketriel Blad

Mishpatim 18-2


Exodus 21:20 22:4 (3 Heb.)

If, however, the bull has had the habit of goring and the owner has been warned but has not kept it penned up and it kills a man or woman, the bull must be stoned and the owner also must be put to death.

Ex. 21:29 NIV

Who can wash his hands of responsibility?

In this text we can learn a very important lesson on responsibility. Man is not responsible only for his own actions being subject to judgment before the heavenly court for what he thought, said, did and failed to do but he is also responsible for whatever the animals under his care and authority do. If someone's bull gores a man or woman killing him or her, and the owner knew it had the habit of goring, it's as if the owner killed that person, so he will also have to die unless he pays the price of a ransom (21:30).

This teaches us that no one can say that it was the bull that did it and wash his hands of his responsibility, if he knew that his bull was dangerous beforehand. The same principle applies to a dog. If someone has a dog and he knows that it can hurt others, he is responsible for any damages caused by his dog. He can't say that it was the dog, not him. That excuse is not valid. Each one is responsible for his animals.

It's easy to blame others, animals and circumstances. The Torah teaches us to be responsible. Immature and evil men don't take responsibility for anything. A caring and mature person takes responsibility even for negative events that befall on others even when he doesn't have to. The first Adam blamed his mate and the serpent, but the last Adam took all the world's blame and shame upon his shoulders and chose to suffer the ultimate consequences of everyone's previous and future sins, mistakes, faults and damages.

Don't blame others. Be responsible for your actions and for those under your care, both human and animal. And if you seek to be great in the Kingdom of Heaven and reach the level of the Messiah, take responsibility for others' actions even if you are not to blame. Then you will have a great reward in the world to come.

Blessed be the Eternal for Messiah Yeshua, our great example!


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