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April 25, 2014 / 25 Nisan, 5774
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Posts Tagged ‘Rachel’

Artifact Found in Time for Shavuot Proves Bethlehem Existed During First Temple

Wednesday, May 23rd, 2012

In a press release issued on Wednesday, the Israel Antiquities Authority and the Ir David Foundation announced that a clay seal was discovered bearing the name of the city of Bethlehem, evidence that the city existed during the period of the First Temple in Jerusalem.  The find fortuitously coincides with the upcoming holiday of Shavuot, during which time Jews from around the world focus on the story of the biblical figure Ruth, set in the city of Bethlehem.

The 1.5cm seal – called a bulla – was discovered during sifting of soil removed from the archeological excavations the Israel Antiquities Authority is carrying out in the City of David, just outside the walls of Jerusalem’s Old City.  The sifting is underwritten by the Ir David Foundation, which treated The Jewish Press to a private tour.

The clay bulla was meant to seal a document or object, used as a way of showing that the private item had not been tampered with.

The new bulla bears the words:   בשבעת   Bishv’at    בת לים    Bat Lechem [למל[ך   [Lemel]ekh

Eli Shukron, director of the excavation on behalf of the Israel Antiquities Authority, said “it seems that in the seventh year of the reign of a king (either Hezekiah, Manasseh or Josiah), a shipment was dispatched from Bethlehem to the king in Jerusalem.”

“The bulla we found belongs to the group of “fiscal” bullae – administrative bullae used to seal tax shipments remitted to the taxation system of the Kingdom of Judah in the late eighth and seventh centuries BCE,” Shukron said.  “The tax could have been paid in the form of silver or agricultural produce such as wine or wheat”.

According to Shukron, this is the first time the name Bethlehem has appeared in an inscription from the First Temple period, proving that Bethlehem was a city in the Kingdom of Judah, and possibly in earlier periods.”

The first mention of Bethlehem in the Bible occurs in regard to the matriarch Rachel, wife of Jacob, sister of Leah, and mother of Joseph, who died while giving birth to Benjamin “in Ephrat, which is Bethlehem, and was buried there (Genesis 35:19; 48:7).

In later generations, when the region was settled by the descendants of Jacob and Leah’s son Judah, a man named Boaz made Ruth, a Moabite convert and daughter-in-law of Naomi, his wife (Book of Ruth).  The couple’s great-grandson, David, became the most celebrated king in Jewish history, and made his capital in Jerusalem, on the site of the modern day “Ir David” – City of David.

Tales of Rachel’s Tomb, a Strange Fire, the Golden Graft, the True Foundation

Wednesday, April 18th, 2012

BREAKING NEWS:  An illegal and unauthorized group tried to forcibly enter Beit Bnei Rachel in the Rachel Tomb walled complex today, reported Dov Shurin, a radio host who serves as the house manager.  The police were forced to respond and prevent the trespass, as the group which has made previous attempts to remove any trace of the rightful owner of the building, Rachel’s Children Reclamation Foundation (RCRF), continued in their efforts to destroy the foundation. The group accosted one of the women who studies with RCRF for the building key and resorted to trying to break the locks on the back door to enter the building. The group tried to break in again with an axe at  1:30am Israel time and the police have responded again. Damages to doors today are $1000. Damages since their occupation are immeasurable.

The police ultimately denied access to the unauthorized group and instructed them that they must take all of their claims to court.  This sends a strong message to the group that has long evaded the legal process that they cannot continue their strong-arm tactics and invade the property that was purchased by RCRF in 2001.

Despite today’s confrontation, Dov Shurin announced that all RCRF activities will continue as they have for the past decade and encouraged the public to come to Beit Lechem to study, pray, and learn the ancient but timely lessons of Rachel Imeinu.

_________________ Rachel Imeinu, the Jewish Mother par excellence, was – according to Biblical sources – buried “on the way” from Jerusalem to Hebron, in Bethlehem to plead for her children going into exile and to welcome them back upon their return. Bethlehem was the home of Boaz, Ruth, Naomi, and King David. King Solomon exempted the residents of Bethlehem from taxes because of his personal attachment to the place where King David was a shepherd and wrote the Tehillim that we read with passion today when we encounter problems and the need for tikkun. Rachel has always been a symbol of the unity of the Jewish people, whose sacrifice on behalf of her sister has inspired Jewish women to emulate her as a role model.

Helping to protect and reclaim the burial site of Rachel Imeinu became my mission in 1995.  I formed Rachel’s Children Reclamation Foundation (RCRF), a 501(c)(3) charitable foundation when Rachel’s Tomb was on the Oslo chopping block. Some government officials suggested giving away Rachel’s Tomb (“Kever Rachel”) or even moving it. Klal Yisrael rallied; Rabbi Menachem Porush and Chanan Porat cried. My organization was instrumental in having hundreds of petitions, proclamations from US officials, as well as children’s letters sent daily in support of retaining Rachel’s Tomb for the Jewish people. PM Rabin responded to the outcry by adding an amendment to the September 28, 1995 Oslo Agreement that put Rachel’s Tomb in area C, completely under Israel control as part of the larger designated area which reaches beyond the area where the separation fence was constructed.

On the day of PM Rabin’s Assassination, 50,000 people were visiting Ima Rachel’s kever on her yahrzeit. On that weekend, I chaired a 3-day Conference of the Women’s Branch of the OU in Washington, DC. The theme of the event was “Breaking the Silence” and the theme song, “We are Rachel’s Children” was introduced that day.

From rallying Rachel’s children to reclaim their identity and holy roots, to purchasing and delivering a Sefer Torah to the empty un-walled streets in front of Rachel’s Tomb, to petitioning to have regular scheduled trips of Egged buses eight times daily, RCRF now finds itself in a dilemma: whether to be silent like Rachel or cry like Rachel. I have learned to have savlanut, patience, but during  the last year and a half conditions at the property for which my foundation provided the majority of funds to purchase and establish Beit Bnei Rachel adjacent to Kever Rachel have continually deteriorated. This has required me to deal with one obstacle after another. I have given not just money, but my heart and soul, and my activities are for all Bnei Rachel.  I work five months a year in Israel doing programming, events, and teaching Derech Eretz in the Rachel’s Tomb complex. While in America I work many hours throughout the night coordinating with the staff and officials in Israel. We had the most lofty dreams when we partnered together to build the Rachel’s Tomb complex, and my foundation originally purchased the valuable property next to Kever Rachel to build a Beit Bnei Rachel in partnership with a group that contributed no funds, but was responsible for purchasing, maintaining and improving the property and assisting us in realizing our dream and establishing a proper yeshivah at the site. The leaders of that group have seemingly abandoned those ideals in an attempt to seize title and control of the valuable land adjacent to Kever Rachel.

Marriage

Thursday, March 15th, 2012

What’s more important – love or money? Let’s hear what a 90-year-old woman sitting in front of two elevators in a nursing home had to say. I asked her, “If both elevator doors opened at the same time, and out of one came the richest man in the world, and out of the other came the nicest man in the world, who would you want to marry?”

She thought about it for a good while and then answered, “Both of them.”

Yes, in marriage love is important, but so is the ability to buy life’s necessities and even some nice things. However, I don’t think that two people who love each other and are committed to a religious life together should put aside the chuppah because they’re not wealthy enough to buy all those things that other newlyweds seem to be getting.

Also, I don’t think a person should choose their marriage partner based on how much money he or she brings to the table.

The Torah offers interesting lessons on what qualities one should look for in a potential spouse.

Yaakov fled from his brother Esav who had murder on his mind. He headed to his mother’s family in Charan to look for a wife. According to a Midrash, Esav’s son intercepted Yaakov along the way, and although he didn’t have the heart to kill him as his father had sent him to do, he did take his material possessions.

What kind of marriageable man would Yaakov be now? And how did he feel, as he most probably knew that when his grandfather, Avraham, had sent his servant Eliezer to the very same place to look for a wife for Yitzchak he had sent him with very impressive gifts laden on ten camels?

Imagine this scene. Yaakov comes to the well at Charan, penniless. A lesser person might have put off the pursuit of a wife, reasoning that he had nothing to offer a prospective mate. But Yaakov did have something of GREAT VALUE TO OFFER – far greater than any material gift – and that was his exemplary middos, his good character traits.

Yaakov sees Rachel at the well where she has come to get water. She would have to wait there until enough men came to move the stone off of the top of the well. But Yaakov didn’t want her to have to spend any more time there than she had to. He himself moved the stone and watered her flock, no doubt making a deep impression on Rachel.

When it came time to marry her, he was willing to work for seven years. Yaakov’s gifts to Rachel were not material in nature, but rather came from a higher place – his entire being.

Another example. When Ruth, a Moavite accompanied her mother-in-law Naomi back to her homeland, it was a great kindness. She was under no obligation to do so. No one would have expected her to. Eventually, she bears a child with Boaz, and many generations later would come David, and we believe that Moshiach will ultimately descend from this union. What was there about this Moavite woman that attracted Boaz to him and would cause such great lineage to come from them? HER KINDNESS.

When making a decision to get married, it’s important to have emunah. You cannot predict the future; you can’t know that all will be well. You need to have faith. I know of a man who was engaged to a woman whom he was deeply committed to. Both of them had jobs, but the man wished he was making more money and as he got closer to the wedding and began to think of all the upcoming expenses he began to wonder if he was financially stable enough to get married. He called a friend who was a rabbi and expressed his concerns. The rabbi responded, “You have to be like Nachshon ben Aminadav who walked forward into the Red Sea before it had split, until the water was up to his neck and then the water parted.”

The rabbi’s overriding message was that before everything is in place, have the courage to go forward with what’s important to you and know that things have a way of working out. The man was heartened by these words and better opportunities for employment have come their way since they were married.

I remember hearing the following story from my parents, may they rest in peace, when they were recounting my father’s proposal to my mother. I asked my mother what she answered. “I asked him,” she said smiling, “if he had the two dollars for the marriage license.” It was said partially facetiously, but there was some truth to it. Money was hard to come by for them at the time. But they saw in each other a life-long commitment and they were married for 50 years until my father’s passing. And they never wanted for anything.

Tombs of Patriarchs, Rachel, Rejected for Heritage Funding

Tuesday, February 14th, 2012

The absence of the Tomb of the Patriarchs in Hebron and the Tomb of Rachel in Bethlehem from a list of sites to receive funding as part of Israel’s National Heritage program has raised the ire of MKs in support of Jewish rights in Judea and Samaria.

MK Aryeh Eldad (National Union) and MK Ze’ev Elkin (Likud) expressed disapproval that the two sites – the burial places of the Jewish foreparents Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Sarah, Rebecca, and Leah in Hebron, and Rachel in Bethlehem – were absent from a renovation funding list presented at a ministerial committee meeting on Tuesday.

Eldad defended the importance of the sites, and warned that withholding funding from the sites is equivalent to removing them from the National Heritage Program.

In February 2010, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu announced a NIS 500 million investment plan aimed at rejuvenating sites of importance to the Jewish People and the State of Israel.  Israel was criticized by the US and the UN body UNESCO for including the two sites on the list.

The Prime Minister’s Office responded to concerns by saying the renovations necessary at the sites were not critical at this time, and that not receiving funding was no indication that the sites had been removed from the National Heritage list.

“Hebron wasn’t funded this time around, but we’ve been assured at the highest levels that in the near future, we will be”, said David Wilder, Spokesman of the Jewish Community of Hebron in an interview with The Jewish Press.  “It wasn’t taken off the list.”

Tel Shiloh, the site which housed the Mishkan (Tabernacle) prior to its installation in the Holy Temple in Jerusalem, will likely be picked for immediate renovation by the committee.  It is located north of Jerusalem in the community of Shilo in Samaria.

Chronicles Of Crises In Our Communities

Friday, February 10th, 2012

Dear Rachel,

My friend reads your article the minute The Jewish Press is delivered to her house. Maybe you can knock some sense into her.

She is the one who lost a ton of weight, looks great and is seeing this loser psychopath for nearly three years already. Rachel, he is a married man! When will she realize that he is just taking her for a ride? This conniving two-timing individual has no intention of marrying her. If he would, he would have divorced his wife years ago!

I’ve heard all about him from my friend who tells me constantly that his “crazy wife” doesn’t want a divorce. Rachel, it’s a man world. If he would really want a divorce he could simply give his wife a “get” or get a legal divorce. But he doesn’t want one. He hasn’t even been employed for over ten years; why would my friend believe he will start working at the ripe age of fifty?

My friend once confided in me that her parents would kill her if they found out she is dating a married man – and one who is jobless yet. She gets nothing from him. She is wasting her precious time. He’s never even given her a piece of jewelry to intimate in the slightest that he is interested in marrying her. She allows herself to be used by him financially and in every other way. She even cooks suppers for him.

He is a cheap, disgusting, lowlife of a man. She realized initially that he lied when he was seeing a different woman while he was dating her! Another lie that she caught him in is that he didn’t tell her he is married. If I would be her I would call up the lawyer that he claims to have retained and see if he really did retain him.

He told her he went away to a hotel for Pesach. Did she confirm that by calling up the hotel? Did she confirm that he went by himself? He tells her he lives in a basement — really? A 50-year old man all alone in the basement? A man who has a history of lying and cheating? I would have run the other way, but my friend obviously has no self-respect; otherwise she wouldn’t have allowed him to sleep over at her house every night.

She keeps on hoping that he will marry her. Why doesn’t she give him an ultimatum? Either get divorced tomorrow or you are out of my life for good! You know why? Because deep down she knows that he will run out of her life and disappear. Even her daughter saw through this man and warned her mother about him way back at the beginning, but she wouldn’t listen.

A frustrated friend

Dear Frustrated,

Your friend may be a reader of this column but chooses to close her eyes and ears where she is concerned. You wrote two years ago in a similar vein (your letter appeared in the first column of the year 2010), but apparently the subject of your frustration chose to ignore the counsel offered then. It is very difficult to help someone who refuses to be helped, but let’s take another shot at it.

My dear woman: Understandably, it is immensely difficult to tear yourself away from the attention and the company that you’ve grown so accustomed to. It’s almost like getting hooked on a drug. Whenever he is with you at your side, you feel like you’re on a high.

Deep down you know he is using you, but you simply don’t allow yourself to face reality. You dread the pain of letting go and of confronting the emptiness that would follow. But in actuality, my dear, your life is empty now. In reality, your relationship is void of any real fulfillment and is a sham. Here’s the proof: Had it been real love and genuine caring, you’d have had a ring on your finger by now.

The truth may hurt, but the fact remains that you are simply his mistress, his pastime and one he uses at his whim. Besides, considering his track record, he is not likely to make you a very good husband. Not very solid husband material – considering how perfectly comfortable he is leading a double life and cheating on his wife. Ask yourself if this is really the type of man you would want as a husband.

Your friend is right. Had he wanted to divorce his wife, he’d have done so by now. Yours is a relationship that is headed nowhere, and for as long as you continue to serve his needs he has no reason or motivation to change a thing.

The best thing you could do for yourself is to free yourself of him. In the least, you should be giving him a chance to prove us wrong. Consider packing your bags and treating yourself to a vacation away from him, someplace where you would be putting a substantial physical distance between you.

Just One Life: Saving Worlds Every Day

Wednesday, January 25th, 2012

Deliberating over terminating a pregnancy is a struggle Rachel* never thought would face her. Life in Northern Israel with her husband and daughter was great until a business they invested in brought a huge financial loss and left them in debt. With her husband only earning a minimal income from a factory job, and much of that deducted to repay their loans, he and Rachel learned she was pregnant and considered terminating the pregnancy. A local social worker referred Rachel to Just One Life.

Just One Life was founded over 20 years ago, when a rabbi read a newspaper article that troubled him and decided to act. The rabbi was the late Rabbi Solomon Sharfman who had been the spiritual leader of the Young Israel of Flatbush. He read that annually, 20,000 women, mostly married, were terminating pregnancies in Israel. Rabbi Sharfman researched the situation personally, and found out that most of these women were choosing to end pregnancies due to socioeconomic stresses that they were facing. He decided that something must be done to save these lives that were being lost daily.

Madelaine Gitelman

In 1989, Rabbi Sharfman together with Jack Forgash founded the organization Just One Life, or in Israel, Nefesh Achat B’Yisrael. Some of Rabbi Sharfman’s former congregants, including Joel and Miriam Gold, were instrumental in its founding as well. Rabbi Macy Gordon was the director of the National Council of Young Israel and the first director of JOL, which was originally run under the auspices of NCYI. Madelaine Gitelman was hired as the executive vice president and head social worker and is today very much the heart and soul of the daily operations in Israel. Rav Avrohom Pam, zt”l, became the organization’s rabbinic adviser and spent “a lot of time ironing everything out,” according to Rabbi Martin Katz, director of JOL. About eight months after its founding, Rabbi Katz joined JOL to head up the operations in North America. “Just One Life has been my identity for the past 20 years,” says Rabbi Katz, his passion for the cause evident in his voice.

In JOL’s first year of operation, the organization successfully assisted seven families, according to Rabbi Etan Tokayer, spiritual leader of the Kingsway Jewish Center in Brooklyn who joined JOL as executive vice president in the Unites States in 2007. To date over 13,000 babies have been born with the help of JOL, including Rachel’s little girl born just a few weeks ago. Rabbi Tokayer explains that during Rachel and her husband’s initial conversation with Gitelman, it was clear to her that “both Rachel and her husband wanted this pregnancy to continue, but were very fearful about their immediate situation.”

Rabbi Etan Tokayer

“The offer of assistance and the ongoing relationship…enabled Rachel to become more positive about the birth,” he says. “During the pregnancy, she developed some health issues. Part of the monthly subsidy provided by JOL was used to purchase the special food that Rachel needed. The couple is thrilled with their new addition.”

The staff of JOL prides itself that 100 percent of its clients have kept their children, without any having been put up for adoption. The organization calls this “internal aliyah,” growing the Jewish population in Israel from within. Rabbi Katz notes that Rabbi Immanuel Jakobovits, zt”l, said that since 1948, almost as many babies in Israel were lost to termination as were killed in the Holocaust.

Both Rabbi Katz and Rabbi Tokayer are clear that their success does not lie solely in the area of financial support to these families. While JOL provides a small stipend, when needed, to alleviate some of the financial stress that may have caused these women to consider termination, Just One Life’s main goal is to empower each woman to be more independent and confident in the skills they need to be successful. Just One Life provides educational resources and classes to teach parents money management, family budgeting, and vocational skills that could help bring extra income to the home. “Just giving them money would be a band-aid,” says Rabbi Katz, explaining that the psychological and support services are what have made a lasting difference to these women, their husbands, and ultimately their children.

Yael, 34 and married with two sons, became despondent when she learned that she was pregnant. Her husband works for a building contractor, and she knew that because money was already too tight to cover their current expenses, that he would probably wish for her to terminate the pregnancy. Even though Yael’s employer would continue to pay her for three months after she delivered, the cost of a newborn seemed overwhelming.

Yael and her husband were referred to JOL. With the offer of financial assistance and some counseling, the husband was not only willing to support his wife’s decision to continue the pregnancy, but was also willing to be a more sharing partner in the household. In November they were glad to welcome their third son.

Sensitivity Of A Tzaddik

Wednesday, January 4th, 2012

“But as for me, when I traveled from Padam, Rachel died on me in the land of Canaan on the road…and I buried her there on the road in Ephras, which is Bethlehem.” – Bereishis 48:7

Yaakov Avinu spent the final seventeen years of his life in Mitzrayim. While there he lived in peace for the first time in many years and remained in that state for the rest of his life. Near the end of his days he called in his beloved son Yosef and made an impassioned request: “Please do not bury me in Mitzrayim.”

After this event, when Yaakov felt his end drawing nearer, he again spoke to Yosef, saying, “On the road your mother Rochel died, and I buried her there.”

Rashi explains that these two conversations were connected. In this final meeting, Yaakov was expressing something he had held inside for many years. He was telling Yosef, “I know that you have harbored a complaint in your heart against me. You feel that when your mother died, I didn’t treat her with due respect. I didn’t bury her in a city, or even in an inhabited place, but right there on the road where she died. You should know I did this because Hashem commanded me to. Many years from now, when Nevuzaradan will force the Jews into exile, they will pass along that road where she is interred. Rachel will cry out with bitter weeping, and her tears will save the Jewish people.”

The Siftei Chachmim explains why Yaakov chose this particular moment to explain this to Yosef – “If not now, when?” He hadn’t told him up to then because he didn’t want to tell him about the suffering that was to occur. But he had to tell him now because it would be his last opportunity. He was about to leave this world.

This Rashi is difficult to understand. If Hashem had told Yaakov to bury Rachel there, why didn’t Yaakov explain this to Yosef years ago? Why did he allow his beloved son to feel some sense of ill will against him for so long? Yosef was not a fragile youth who would fall apart if he heard bad news. He was a mature, sophisticated talmid chacham. His role at the time was leader of all of Mitzrayim. He could have handled the knowledge that the Jewish nation would suffer. And Yaakov knew that eventually he was going to have to tell Yosef anyway. Why not just tell him right away and eliminate all those bad feelings?

The answer is that Yaakov was extraordinarily guarded in what he said. Every word was measured, every expression weighed. And he had a policy: “I am not the one to cause suffering to others. If I tell Yosef why I buried his mother on the road, I will have to tell him the Jewish people will be sent into exile. That fact will cause him much suffering, and I won’t be a part of it. When he has to hear the bad news, I will tell him, but not a moment sooner. If this will cause him to question my actions, if this will cause him to feel some element of resentment toward me, I am willing to pay that price rather than cause him the pain of knowing what will occur.”

This Rashi illustrates a number of beautiful concepts. First, we see the extraordinary sensitivity a tzaddik has in not causing another human being to suffer. Even though Yosef could “handle it,” and even though Yaakov would eventually have to tell him, he was willing to bear the burden of letting his son think of him as insensitive rather than cause him pain. We also see an incredible example of discretion. Yaakov was extremely guarded in the words that came out of his mouth. Yaakov had been separated from his beloved son for twenty-two years. For those two decades, Yaakov was living in a state of unending mourning. When they finally met, Yosef was so filled with joy that the tears couldn’t be stopped. The love between the two was overflowing. And yet, there was something that stood between them. Yaakov knew that within the heart of his son was a sense of resentment, of ill will. In Yosef’s mind, his mother had been mistreated; her final honor had been compromised. And his own father was the man who dishonored her.

It wasn’t just at one moment that this was a barrier between them. For the next seventeen years, every time they spoke and every time they were together, there was a certain wedge keeping them apart. And yet Yaakov wouldn’t say a word. Even though these feelings were completely unfounded, he wouldn’t talk about it because that would cause a Jew to suffer, and he couldn’t be a part of that. This self-control is illustrative of the way Yaakov lived every moment of his life.

The Sensitivity Of A Tzaddik

Sunday, December 4th, 2011

 “Then Yaakov kissed Rachel. And he raised his voice and wept.” – Bereishis 29: 11

 

When Yaakov met Rachel at the well, he experienced conflicting emotions. He felt tremendous joy at having finally met his bashert, yet he raised his voice and cried. Rashi explains that he cried because he came empty-handed. He said, “My father’s servant came with ten camels laden with gifts and finery, and I come with empty hands.”

Rashi goes on to explain to us why he didn’t bring a gift for Rachel. When Yaakov found out Eisav was plotting to kill him, he fled from his father’s home. Eisav sent his son Alifaz to chase down Yaakov. Alifaz was a tzaddik, and when he approached Yaakov he said, “I can’t kill you because you are an innocent man. On the other hand, what will be with the command of my father?” Yaakov said to him, “A poor man has the halachic status of a dead man. Take my money, and it will be considered as if you killed me, so on some level you will have fulfilled your father’s words.” As a result, Yaakov came to the well empty-handed. When it was time to propose to Rachel, he didn’t have the gifts that would be expected, and so, he raised his voice and cried.

This Rashi become difficult to understand when we focus on who these people were. The Avos may have walked the same planet as do you and I, but they lived in a very different orbit. Their every waking moment was occupied by thoughts of Hashem. They lived and breathed to attain closeness to Hashem. That was the focus of their lives and existence. It was the only thing that mattered to them.

For many years Rachel knew that she was to marry Yaakov and be a matriarch of the Jewish people. You have to assume that when she finally met her bashert she was overcome with joy. Here was the man she had waited for. Here in front of her was this great tzaddik, the man of her dreams, offering to marry her so she could fulfill her destiny. It is hard to imagine she was concerned at that moment about glitter and trinkets.

Yet Yaakov cried because he didn’t have a diamond ring to give her. The question is – why? All that Rachel really wanted was being delivered to her. If so, why did Yaakov cry?

It seems the answer is that the lack of gifts may not have bothered Rachel much, but the bottom line was that it wasn’t respectful to her. When you come to your kallah, you bring her a gift. That is the way dignified people act. On some level, it isn’t treating her with the kavod due to her, and that caused Yaakov pain – so much pain that he raised his voice and cried. On some level, it was a slight to the honor of Rachel. It wasn’t befitting her significance, so it moved him to tears.

Every Person Hungers for Recognition

This is a tremendous lesson to us because the people we live among aren’t on the level of Rachel. To them, a slight to their honor is something that causes real pain. People will go to great lengths to protect their reputation and dignity because these things are very important to them. And for that reason we need to develop a real sensitivity to other people’s dignity and honor.

But this concept goes much further. The reality is that there are few people who get enough recognition and respect. We humans have many needs. We need food and drink, we need shelter and protection, and we need friends and companionship. Most of our needs are met. The one need that that is almost never met is the need to be appreciated. It is something we hunger for, something that is basic to our success and vitality. Yet there is no store where it can be bought, no marketplace in which it can be acquired. And a person often can go around with a deep hunger, not even realizing what is amiss.

One of the greatest acts of kindness I can do for another person is to treat him with honor. If I find your currency and can acknowledge you in that vein, I can give you that which you deeply crave – and it costs me nothing.

The great dichotomy of human conduct is that I must run from my own kavod, yet run after yours. When it comes to my honor, I have to train myself that it is vain and frivolous, yet when it comes to yours, I have to do everything in my power to give you as much honor as I am able. A person who learns to find this balance becomes a popular and welcome companion, and is able to help others meet one of their deepest, unmet needs.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/judaism/parsha/the-sensitivity-of-a-tzaddik/2011/12/04/

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