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Be Still

"Do not stand on your neighbor's blood."  Leviticus 19:16

This commandment is one of a group that requires a person to respect others' rights and possessions. Examples include returning a lost object to its rightful owner, helping load and unload a beast of burden, lending money to the needy, etc. We should not stand idly by while someone else's possessions are being destroyed, if we can do something to save them. The uniqueness of this verse lies in the graphic image used: standing idly by while another's blood is being shed.

Do not turn away when you see someone doing something destructive if there is any chance that you may be able to prevent it. It may not be pleasant to try to deter a person from whatever path he is taking, nevertheless, we should not shirk from making the effort. Even advice that is initially ignored may make an impression and lead to reconsideration.

Had the Torah used less forceful words, we may have an excuse to mind our own business. The metaphor of considering it equivalent to standing by and watching someone's blood being shed emphasizes the gravity of the responsibility to prevent others from causing harm.