Parashat Matot: "You should be innocent before Hashem and Israel" (Bamidbar 32:22)

[Tal Chermon]

With this verse, the Torah teaches us an important principle: A person should not bring himself to be suspect. One should not say: "What do I care what people think of me?! I know what I am doing is honest!" Rather just as one must act in a proper way before Hashem, so too must one act in a proper way before human beings, in order to increase the sanctification of Hashem's Name in the world.
Here are a few example of this principle in action:
1. Abba Hoshiya was a launder by profession. His clothing was always made of one type of cotton and not a combination, so that people would not say that when he washed their clothing, he took little pieces of the material and made himself a garment (Yerushalayim, Baba Kama 10:10).
2. Beit Garmu (The family of Garmu) was responsible for baking the dough for the Lechem Panim in the Temple. The Rabbis praised them because they would not allow clean flour in their homes so that they would never be suspected of using the dough for their own sustenance, in fulfillment of the verse: "You should be innocent before Hashem and Israel" (Yoma 38a).
3. Beit Avtinas (The Family of Avtinas) was responsible for the incense in the Temple. The Rabbis praised them since whenever a women in their family was married, she would not wear perfume for the wedding, and if one of their men married a woman from another place, it was on condition that she would she not wear perfume, so that they would be above suspicion of using the incense for their own benefit, in fulfillment of the verse: "You should be innocent before Hashem and Israel" (ibid.).
4. The Midrash (Tanchuma, Pekudei) says that Moshe Rabbenu would give an accounting for every type of material received for the Mishkan: Gold, silver, copper, etc. He acted in this way to be above suspicion, even though it says (Melachim 2 12:16) "They did not require an accounting from those to whom they gave the money to pay the workers, because they acted with complete honesty." If Moshe Rabbenu acted this way, how much more so should we - a thousand times (Shelah)!