Parshas Ki Setzei
“You shall not see the donkey of your friend or his ox falling by the way and ignore them…” (Devarim 22:4)
It is a negative commandment that we have been warned that if it appears that a friend’s ox or other animal has fallen because of the weight of its load or for any other reason, or if a person himself is bowed and crouching under his burden, that one may not leave him there and leave. Instead, we must help him and lift up his animal with him. We must stay there until he has refixed the load either on his own back or on his animal’s back, and about this it says “You shall not see the donkey of your friend or his ox falling by the way and ignore them…”.
One who does not help his friend on the way, has transgressed this negative commandment and also the positive commandment brought in Parshas Mishpatim (Commandment 80) which discusses the commandment to remove a heavy load from an animal. Amongst the roots of this commandment are to teach us the character trait of mercy which is a wonderful trait to have. One does not need to mention that one is obligated to have mercy on a man who is suffering physically but here the Torah has added that one should have mercy on him and help to save him even when he is only suffering a possible loss of money.
This commandment applies in all places and at all times both to men and to women. One who transgresses this commandment shows us that he is cruel which is a horrible trait to have. Anyone who has no mercy on the creations will receive no mercy from heaven as his body is not fit to receive mercy.