We learn this week of the transgression of Me'ilah, of expropriating for personal use that which has been sanctified to Hashem (Gcd). If, for example, one were to drink from a goblet used in the Temple service, one would be guilty of Me'liah; if the act was done inadvertently, one would bring an Asham (Guilt) offering, the subject of our parsha.
Me'ilah is a very grave offense, and is taken very seriously by the Sages of the Talmud; to the extent that it is forbidden to even take enjoyment from the shade cast by the Holy Temple!! You can't use the wall of the Temple for personal benefit – yep, even the shade it throws off on a hot day - because it has been sanctified to Hashem.
The verse goes on to state:
Any soul that sins by committing an act of Me'ilah against Hashem, and tells a lie against his fellow regarding a pledge, or a loan, or a robbery or by cheating his fellow; or he denies finding a lost object... (Lev. 5:21)
Wait a minute – we just defined Me'ilah as expropriating for personal use that which has been sanctified to Hashem. What does Me'ilah have to do with lying, cheating and stealing from your fellow (pernicious as those acts may be)?
The Ba'al HaTurim comments on this verse:
The Hebrew word 'and he lies' is interposed between the words 'against Hashem' and 'against his fellow', because in denying the act and taking a false oath, he lies both to Hashem and his fellow, i.e., he lies in a matter that is known only to Hashem and the victim.In all these cases no witnesses were present, such as cases where an agreement was struck in private and brazenly denied in public.
Nowadays the spin doctors advise all miscreants to “Deny! Deny! Deny!”
That might be an expedient strategy to salvage a political or celebrity career in jeopardy, but the Torah is teaching us that such expedients are a grave affront to Hashem.
Because if a “victimless” crime like merely sitting in the shade of the Temple wall is considered stealing from Hashem, how much more so is cheating and stealing from the helpless?