Restitution

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“If a person causes a field or vineyard to be grazed over or lets his animal loose to graze in someone else’s field, he is to make restitution from the best produce of his own field and vineyard.

If a fire is started and spreads to thorns, so that stacked grain, standing grain or a field is destroyed, the person who lit it must make restitution.” Exodus 22:5-6. The Torah teaches both Jews and Gentiles that it is important to take responsibility for your actions and any damage resulting from your actions.

It is not enough to say “I am sorry.” You have to do what you can to make up for the losses your actions caused another person. We can also learn from this example that we should not be careless about where our pets are or how we do things. We must be careful to protect the possessions of others. In some countries we still see some of the principles of Torah being acknowledged when people can sue for damages. Although no one should have to force another person to do what the Torah demands, people still recognize that saying sorry isn’t enough and that wrongs should be made right and losses restored. There is another level on which we can try to make wrongs right that is not limited to material possessions.

When we break the trust in relationships we cannot expect our duty to the person affected by this to be over by simply apologizing either. If you have gossiped about others you should as far as possible go to the people you spoke to and try to correct any lies that may have been spread because of it. If you have been unfaithful to your spouse you cannot just say “I am sorry” and then act as if nothing has happened and expect the relationship to be okay without doing anything else. You have to give your spouse the best of your love and efforts to make up for the broken trust. When you have sinned against God it is not enough to make amends with words alone you must show your sorrow for sin with actions as well. While it is true that you may never be able to give an exact replacement for whatever was lost when you have done something wrong you can still try to live a much better life in the future because of it.

Picture originally found here

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