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Congregation Beth Shalom of the Blue Hills

Serving the Jewish Community of: Milton, Quincy, Boston, Hyde Park, Dorchester, Roslindale, Braintree & Surrounding Areas

A BRIEF JEWISH  THOUGHT FOR THE WEEK – Establishing Protective Fences

Establishing Protective Fences

If sundown is 6:32, why don’t we light candles at 6:31 and 59 seconds?  And why do wait to say Havdallah to end Shabbat and holidays until we see 3 stars in the sky rather than right after sundown?  The answer is that in order to protect the beauty and holiness of Shabbat and holidays we “create a fence” around it, a “Siyag La’Torah” by starting early and ending late.  Great treasures deserve extra protection.  Thus we now have front and side airbags in cars!  Another treasure is one’s reputation.  Lose that and you lose a lot!  For public figures and business owners the rabbis created the concept “lifnim m’shurat ha’din”, the idea of going beyond the letter of the law to ensure there is no doubting one’s integrity.  So even if something is technically legal, it still may be appropriate not to do it if doing so would look shady.  This advice may be ancient but it is as relevant today – for politicians and pro-athletes – as ever.  Shabbat Shalom, RabbiB