כבוד הבריות

There is a principle learned in מסכת ברכות regarding כבוד הבריות, which means having respect for creations.

If someone will be offended or will have their feelings hurt, one is even allowed to violate an איסור דרבנן, a rabbinic law.

An example of this might be that there is a rabbinic prohibition against eating food cooked in the home of one who desecrates Shabbat publicly. However, in a situation where it may be close relative who went to the trouble of carefully cooking kosher food, because of כבוד הבריות, he may be allowed to eat such food.

The תורה תמימה says that although the Heter of כבוד הבריות applies to rabbinic law, there is an exception in this week’s Parsha.

The case of השבת אבידה, returning a lost article, is a Torah commandment. Nevertheless, כבוד הבריות could apply, where it might be difficult for an elderly person to reach the lost object. Or, a תלמיד חכם might need to crawl or degrade himself in order to reach the lost article, because of כבוד הבריות, he would be exempt.

As a general rule, considering people’s feelings and attempting not to insult them, outweighs rabbinic law. But in certain instances, it can even outweigh a Torah commandment. Shabbat Shalom