In this week’s portion, in Leviticus 25:14, we read, “And if you sell anything to your neighbor or buy from your neighbor’s hand, you shall not oppress one another.” The Hebrew word here used for “oppress” comes from the root word “yanah” and can also be translated as “to wrong, mistreat, or take advantage of.” God is telling His people to approach each other with honest business dealings and open relationships. You see God is the God of the buyer and the seller. He doesn’t choose sides, one over the other.
If the world is full of God’s children and we want to honor our Father-in-Heaven, then we will treat His children below, with the dignity and respect they deserve. If the son of royalty stepped into your shop to make a few purchases, would you even think to cheat him? No, of course not! Knowing that this son’s father was king would be more than enough to persuade you to treat this individual with the respect he deserves. Why does he deserve any respect? Because he is a son of a king! Why does anyone in this world deserve respect? Because they are sons and daughters of the Most High King who reigns above all other kings.
We ought to treat everyone as if they were royalty, because in the eyes of God, they are royalty; they are His children. So whether it is respect for God or love of our neighbor that keeps us from mistreating those around us, as we live out this command of Torah, bear in mind that everyone is a child of God, and everyone—every single being—is precious in the eyes of our Father in Heaven.
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