People often fall into the trap of sizing people up based on tiny tidbits of information. This is especially true in today’s digital age when our first instinct to find out about someone is to google them. Doesn’t it seem odd that people form an opinion about someone based on a review that they wrote for a blender on Amazon or an obituary written about their grandmother?
At the end of this week’s Parsha, immediately following the Tochecha – Admonitions, are the laws of Erechin – Valuations, how to evaluate monetary value for someone who pledges a contribution to the Temple based on the value of a person.
The Chozeh of Lublin explains that after hearing all of the Tochecha with the admonitions and resulting curses, we might think that our lives are worthless. Therefore, the Torah immediately introduces Erechin the concept of human valuations to teach us that every person is valuable.
Siftei Kohen notes that the Torah uses the word בערכך – your value, and not בערך – the value. Because to HaShem, people don’t have an assigned value; they are priceless. We, however, decide to set a value for ourselves or other people. For this reason, a person that can’t afford their pledge can be reevaluated and adjusted. It doesn’t make the person any less valuable because, in reality, we can’t put a price on ourselves or another person. This is why Erechin follows the Tochecha – to teach us that even if we falter and deserve to be admonished nevertheless, it doesn’t lessen or diminish our value. We are still priceless to Hashem.
We have all experienced first-hand what happens when people “evaluate” other people based on small snippets of information. We need to realize that even with all of our flaws, we have infinite value in the eyes of Hashem.
Rabbi Shlomo Gabay