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And you shall be clear before Hashem and before Yisrael.” (32:22)

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In this pasuk Moshe is addressing the two and a half shevatim. He is informing them that after they have completed their part in conquering Eretz Yisrael, they will be considered “nekiim,” clear. This means that they will have fulfilled their obligation to Hashem and to Klal Yisrael. In the Yerushalmi, Shekalim 3:2, Chazal delineate the parameters of this obligation. One must be careful to deal with his fellow man with the same integrity that he deals with Hashem.  Just as we must be sure to ferret out any vestige of inappropriateness in our behavior towards Hashem, so, too, must we maintain the same standard of rectitude in our interaction with people.

Horav Moshe Shternbuch, Shlita, derives a profound lesson from the words of Chazal. In our relationship with Hashem we must exhibit extremely high standards. Hashem knows what goes on in the recesses of our minds. Consequently, the degree of integrity we display in dealing with Hashem transcends the scope of action and penetrates to our hearts and minds.  We must be “clear” in our intention and correct in our motivation in serving the Almighty.

Similarly, one’s interaction with people must be totally above reproach.  It is not sufficient to simply act nicely on a superficial level, while concealing questionable motives beneath the surface. Every endeavor we undertake must be untainted by flattery or other forms of dishonesty.  Not only must what we do be naki, clear, but our thoughts must be similarly unimpaired by any manifestation of deceit.