Section:  Avodah   Category: Ahavas Yisroel
Parshas Mishpatim: Rav Itzele Blazer - Sorry But The Animal Will Just Have To Wait
There is a mitzva to help another Jew, even your enemy, load up his donkey.  There is also a mitzva to help him unload his donkey when it is suffering under its load.  The gemara Bava Metzia (32b) says that if you see both your good friend struggling to unload his donkey and your bitter enemy wanting to load up his donkey, you should help you enemy first and then your friend.  The gemara says the reason for this is so that you can subdue your Yetzer Hara who wants to fan the flames of hatred, even if your actions are justified based on the Torah.

Rav Itzele Blazer of Peterburg, the Talmid of Rav Yisroel Salanter, says that what is mind boggling about this gemara is that the gemara says that this course of action is correct even according to those who hold the Tzaar Baalei Chaim is assur Min HaTorah.  So we have here on one side a suffering donkey whom the Torah requires you to help coupled with a Mitzva of helping your friend unload his donkey, and on the other side an enemy with a package that needs to be loaded.  This seems like a no brainer.  Leave friends and enemies aside, the poor donkey should get the help and the enemy can wait his turn since his mitzva is balanced by the mitzva to the friend.  Lets also remember that the enemy is not someone who you simply don't like, but rather someone who does aveiros and your hate is rooted in a love for Hashem.  Yet the gemara says that precisely now is the time to teach your Yetzer Hara a lesson.  Is now really the right time?  Can't the lesson wait until the Donkey is relieved?

Rav Itzele says that we see from here that subduing your evil inclination is the most basic personal need of man.  One must ask, how can we kill and animal in order to eat a hearty meal, isn't that Tzaar Baalei Chaim?  What about skinning it for hide and fur?  All these things are permissible because animals are create for man's utility.  It is only assur to cause Tzaar Baalei Chaim when their pain serves no human need.  Our first and foremost human need, and our entire purpose on this earth, is to wage war with our Yetzer Hara.  In this case when you have a point blank shot at the enemy, and you have a chance to eradicate hate between men, the animal must wait even if it is accorded protection by the Torah itself.