Kenneth Cohen

Fear G-d Like You Fear Man

The Torah speaks of a declaration that was made twice every seven years. This was called, “Viduy Maaserot,” the confession regarding the tithes.

There were certain tithes taken every year, while others on the third and sixth year of the Shmitta cycle. Therefore, on the fourth and seventh years on Pesach, Jews would declare or confess, that they carefully observed the Mitzva of tithing meticulously, without leaving out any details.

The question was asked why we only make this declaration for tithes. Why not make an annual declaration regarding stealing, or cheating in business, that we were careful to observe all of the details demanding honesty and integrity?

Rabbi Twerski answers this question by saying that tithing is strictly between man and man, and the only accountability is from G-d, Himself. The other violations involve accountability to man, which eventually will catch up with a person.

This is similar to the parting words of the great sage, Rabbi Yochanan Ben Zakai. He told his students that their fear of G-d should be as great as their fear of man. The students were surprised that such a simple message was given. But the Rabbi insisted that, in time, they will realize what a powerful lesson this was.

We need to be consistent in our observance of the Torah and be equally diligent in both the laws between man and man, as well as between, man and G-d.

About the Author
Rabbi Cohen has been a Torah instructor at Machon Meir, Jerusalem, for over twenty years while also teaching a Talmud class in the Shtieblach of Old Katamon. Before coming to Israel, he was the founding rabbi of Young Israel of Century City, Los Angeles. He recently published a series of Hebrew language-learning apps, which are available at