web analytics
January 29, 2015 / 9 Shevat, 5775
 
At a Glance
Judaism
Sponsored Post


Home » Judaism » Parsha »

Choose Your Friends Wisely

The-Shmuz

“The families of the children of Korach would encamp on the side of the Tabernacle, to the south.” – Bamidbar 3:29

Rashi quotes the midrash: “Yissachar and Zevulun became great in Torah because their tents were placed next to the tents of Moshe, Aharon, and his sons. The 250 individuals who joined Korach in his rebellio
n against Hashem, on the other hand, did so because their tents were located next to Korach’s.”

From here Chazal teach, Praise be a tzaddik, and praise be his neighbors. Woe to the rasha, and woe to his neighbors.”

The midrash seems to attribute both the great success of Yissachar and Zevulun, as well as the utter destruction of Korach’s congregation, to the influence of neighbors.

What makes this statement startling is the distance between the fate of each group. Throughout the generations, the role of Torah teachers was given to Yissachar and the role of supporting Torah went to Zevulun. In this way, they reached the heights of greatness. On the flip side, the people who followed Korach in rebellion against Hashem are depicted as still being punished in gehenom to this day. Yet this midrash seems to be saying that the followers of Yissachar, Zevulun, and Korach all began at the same starting point. The difference was where they dwelled.

It seems difficult to understand how such a stark difference in results could be caused simply by living in close proximity to one person. This question becomes compounded when we take into account the circumstances and the times.

These events were taking place during the forty years in the midbar. Rather than bringing the Jewish people directly to Eretz Yisrael, Hashem cloistered them within the confines of the Clouds of Glory. Locking them away from the world allowed them to become spiritual giants. All of their physical needs were taken care of: they ate the mann delivered to the doors of their tents, they drank water from the be’er, their clothes didn’t tatter and their shoes didn’t wear out. They experienced countless overt miracles.

Further, all the individuals involved had not long before stood at the foot of Har Sinai. When Hashem proclaimed for the entire world to hear, “I am Hashem your G-d,” every man woman and child standing there reached a level of seeing Hashem greater than a navi. They experienced Hashem’s presence first hand.

With that experience came a clear understanding of the purpose of life. The Jews at Sinai fully recognized that we are put on the planet for a few short years with a specific mission to grow, to accomplish, and to shape ourselves into what we will be for eternity. They knew that whatever state of perfection we reach here, we will enjoy forever.

How then is it possible that something as seemingly inconsequential as living next to a tzaddik or a rasha could spell ruination or great success?

The Human: a Social Being

The answer to this question seems to be that we humans are social beings, and because of this we are exquisitely sensitive to influence from others. One of our needs is to belong. We need friendships, we crave associations, and we hunger for a sense of community. When we fit into a group we feel a part of, we identify with that group. This is our chevra, our circle of friends, and it becomes almost an extension of us. Our circle of friends affects our value systems, the way we view ourselves, and our roles in all that we do. But it’s a double-edged sword. It can be one of the greatest aids to a person’s spiritual growth – or the greatest liability.

About the Author: Rabbi Shafier is the founder of the Shmuz.com – The Shmuz is an engaging, motivating shiur that deals with real life issues. All of the Shmuzin are available free of charge at the www.theShmuz.com or on the Shmuz App for iphone or Android.


If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.

Our comments section is intended for meaningful responses and debates in a civilized manner. We ask that you respect the fact that we are a religious Jewish website and avoid inappropriate language at all cost.

If you promote any foreign religions, gods or messiahs, lies about Israel, anti-Semitism, or advocate violence (except against terrorists), your permission to comment may be revoked.

No Responses to “Choose Your Friends Wisely”

Comments are closed.

SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Current Top Story
PM Binyamin Netanyahu pays his respects to former PM Ariel Sharon at Sycamore Ranch, near Sderot.
Netanyahu: ‘Arik Sharon Knew The Real Threat is Iran’
Latest Judaism Stories
Tissot_The_Waters_Are_Divided

Leading by example must be visible, regarding where, when and how-like Nachshon entering the Red Sea

Torah-Hakehillah-121914

Rabbi Yaakov Nagen, a Ram at Yeshivat Otniel, notes that the verse is suggesting that retelling the story of the Exodus is so important that Hashem is performing ever-greater miracles specifically so that parents can tell their stories to future generations.

Parshat Bo

Before performing the 10th plague God makes a fundamental argument about the ultimate nature of justice.

Daf-Yomi-logo

Life Before The Printed Word
‘A Revi’is Of Blood’
(Yevamos 114a-b)

How is it possible that the clothing was more valuable to them than gold or silver?

Question: If Abraham was commanded to circumcise his descendants on the eighth day, why do Arabs – who claim to descend from Abraham through Yishmael – wait until their children are 13 to circumcise them? I am aware that this is a matter of little consequence to our people. Nevertheless, this inconsistency is one that piques my curiosity.

M. Goldman
(Via E-mail)

“It means that the disqualification of relatives as witnesses is a procedural issue, not a question of honesty,” explained Rabbi Dayan.

Property ownership is an extremely important and fundamental right and principle according to the Torah.

The tenderest description of the husband/wife relationship is “re’im v’ahuvim/loving, kind friends”

And if a person can take steps to perform the mitzvah, he should do so (even if he won’t be held accountable for not performing it due to circumstances beyond his control).

Suddenly, she turns to me and says, “B’emet, I need to thank you, you made me excited to come back to Israel.”

Pesach is called “zikaron,” a Biblical term used describing an object eliciting a certain memory

Recouping $ and assets from Germans and Swiss for their Holocaust actions is rooted in the Exodus

Pharaoh perverted symbols of life (the Nile and midwives) into agents of death.

I think that we have to follow the approach of the Tannaim and Amoraim. They followed the latest scientific developments of their time.

More Articles from Rabbi Ben Tzion Shafier
The-Shmuz

How is it possible that the clothing was more valuable to them than gold or silver?

The-Shmuz

It is exactly like that of an animal, with all of the passions and desires necessary to drive man though his daily existence.

How did their hatred toward the Jews make their own lives disgusting? It’s the Jews they hated, not themselves.

When Hashem made man, He created two worlds – this world and the World to Come. Each has its purpose.

Because we see these events as world changing, as moments in history, they become part of us forever.

Our right to exist and our form of self-government were decided by the ruling parties.

If Hashem is watching tzaddikim, why couldn’t He just save Yosef from all the suffering he was about to endure?

If a man owns a successful small business, he might do a million dollars a year in sales. But that is the gross revenue, not the amount he takes home.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/judaism/parsha/choose-your-friends-wisely/2014/05/22/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: