Kenneth Cohen

Spiritual Damage

There is a commentator by the name of Kerem Tzvi, that sheds light on the case of a person injuring his friend in a fist fight. From this incident, we learn of the various damages the attacker must pay. He must pay doctor bills as well as disability.

The Kerem Tzvi wondered about the loss of spirituality of the person who was attacked. If he was badly hurt, he would have difficulty observing the Mitzvot. His Torah study would weaken and he may not be able to make it to Shule. There should be accountability for the loss of spirituality as well.

The answer to this question comes from the wording of the Pasuk. It says that if he manages to recover from his wounds and והתהלך בחוץ, he is able to go outside. The implication is that when he “goes out,” he continues his lifestyle as it was before. That is, he is out enjoying the outside world of comforts and materialism.

If that is the case, the continuation of the Pasuk says, ונקה המכה, “the attacker is clean.” He does not have to worry about causing a loss to his spirituality. His behavior after the unpleasant episode, shows that there wasn’t much spirituality taking place, before his injury.

This is another example as to how the Rabbis were able to find hidden messages from a careful review of the text of the Torah.

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