Yerushalmi Shekalim 8-9 The importance of being above suspicion:


the Mishna on daf 8a forbids the person  who  takes money out from the contribution boxes for use in the divine service  to wear a garment with a folded hem or even to wear  shoes or tefillin while doing so !  
This is  in case people suspect that he might have taken some money  for himself and placed them in the fold, in his shoes, or even untied the tefillin boxes and hidden some money inside. 

If he becomes poor , people might think that it is due to such wicked actions, and if he becomes rich, they might think that it is from the money he stole. 
The possibility  that the person entrusted with such holy work could abuse his power in such a way or even abuse holy items such as  Tefillin to aid his crime might be shocking , but unfortunately is as applicable today than ever. 

Two sources are brought for the requirement to be completely above  suspicion:”והייתם נקיים מה’ ומישראל “( and you shall be clean (of suspicion) from Hashem and Yisrael)- just like a person has to be  clean in deeds  in front of Hashem ( who knows all thoughts and actions), he also needs to be clean of suspicion from others who do not know his thoughts and actions .
It is thus not enough to be honest in reality, but one also has to be above any suspicion of dishonesty. 
This passuk is found in the Chumash itself ( Bamidbar 32/22) in the context of the promise made by the tribes of Reuvain, Gad, and half of Menashe  to help the other tribes conquer Eretz Yisroel proper in exchange for being allowed to settle on the other side of the Jordan. 
An alternative source is brought from Nach (Mishlei 3/4) 
“ומצא חן בשכל טוב בעיני אלוקים ואדם “( and he found grace and good intellect in the eyes of G-d and man.) 
The passuk is describing the result of one’s  following the Torah properly , and a version of it in prayer form is found in the additions we say in the benstching .
The Gemara on daf 9a brings further examples , among them :
A קווץ ( person with long hair ) should not be given this task , presumably because he might be suspected of hiding money in his hair. 
They would keep talking with him all the time he is in the room so he would not be suspected of hiding money in his mouth !
It also brings a third source for the requirement to be above above suspicion from the Navi and concludes that the first source brought from the Chumash is the clearest of all !
We have already  seen this passuk being brought as a source for this requirement in the Bavli  in our post on Pesachim 12-13 where we discussed this topic in more detail and together with other sources and examples ,  referenced our Mishna here in Shekalim.
As with everything in the Torah  , and particularly in ethical matters , it cannot be highlighted enough! 

These posts are intended to raise issues and stimulate further research and discussion on contemporary topics related to the daf. They are not intended as psak halacha.

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