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September 30, 2014 / 6 Tishri, 5775
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Posts Tagged ‘Yaakov’

Why Was Yaakov Avinu Reciting Krias Shema?

Thursday, December 29th, 2011

In this week’s parshah, Yaakov is reunited with his son Yosef after having being separated from him for 22 years. When they met, the pasuk says that Yosef fell on Yaakov’s neck and cried extensively. Rashi quotes a medrash that says that while Yosef did this, Yaakov did not fall on Yosef’s neck, nor did he kiss him. The medrash explains that Yaakov was reciting Krias Shema at that moment.

There are several questions that bothered the mefarshim regarding this episode. First, why did Yaakov feel the need to recite Krias Shema at this moment? Second, if it was indeed the appropriate time to recite Krias Shema, why did Yosef not recite it? The Taz and the Vilna Gaon (Orach Chaim 61:1) – based on the opinion of the Rush (Berachos 1:5) that one may interrupt the recitation of the Krias Shema to inquire about the wellbeing of one’s father, rebbe, or a king – ask why Yaakov did not pause to inquire about Yosef’s wellbeing, since he was a king. We find that Yosef was considered a king, for when Yosef came to visit his ill father, Yaakov sat up in bed (Bereishis 48:2) – and Rashi explains that he did so to show respect for the king.

The Gur Aryeh explains that when Yaakov met Yosef it was not the time to say Krias Shema. Rather, the reason that Yaakov was reciting Shema at this time was because it was the custom of tzaddikim that at a moment of simcha they would be mekabel ol malchus shamayim (by reciting the Shema) in an effort to channel that simcha toward accepting the yoke of Hashem. Additionally, Reb Yehoshua Leib Diskin says that the ultimate purpose of the middah of love is to love Hashem. Therefore, when one experiences an overwhelming measure of that middah, he should focus it on his love for Hashem. So Yaakov recited Shema in order to use the love he was experiencing toward Hashem.

The Taz and the Vilna Gaon answer that the halacha that one may interrupt Krias Shema to inquire about the wellbeing of one’s father, rebbe, or a king does not apply to the first pasuk of Shema – only to the rest of Shema. Since Yaakov was in the middle of the first pasuk of Krias Shema he was unable to interrupt himself, even to inquire about the wellbeing of his son the king.

Others understand that it was indeed the appropriate time to read Shema, and therefore Yaakov recited it. As for Yosef, the Sifsei Chachamim explains that he was exempt from the mitzvah of Krias Shema since he was osek b’mitzvah (involved in a mitzvah) of kibud av (honoring one’s father).

The Brisker Rav explains that the time to recite Shema had already begun and Yosef had already recited Krias Shema. Yaakov had not yet recited Shema, since until this point he was osek b’mitzvah of following the commandment of Hashem to descend to Mitzrayim. At this moment he had just arrived in Mitzrayim, and thus he was now obligated to recite Shema – which he did. While he was still reciting the Shema, Yosef approached.

Reb Yehoshua Leib Diskin suggests that throughout all the years that Yaakov and Yosef were separated, Yaakov was unable to have complete kavanah while reciting the words in Krias Shema, “u’vechal nafshecha” (which mean that one must be willing to sacrifice his own life for Hashem). This was because Yaakov knew that he was promised that he would have 12 sons that would all be shevatim. Since one was missing, he was unable to wholeheartedly say that he would give up his life while still not yet fully complete. Now that he sees that all of his sons are alive, he could once again recite those words with total sincerity. Therefore Yaakov recited Shema at the moment that he met Yosef.

With this explanation Reb Yehoshua Leib answers another question. In the very next pasuk Yaakov exclaims “amusah hapa’am – now I can die.” The Gemara, in Berachos 19, says that one should not open his mouth to the satan. In other words, do not make statements that invite trouble. Why would Yaakov make this strange statement? Reb Yehoshua Leib says that Yaakov was explaining why he recited Krias Shema at this point: because he could now have complete kavanah, and if it were necessary he would wholeheartedly give up his life for Hashem.

For questions or comments, e-mail RabbiRFuchs@gmail.com.

Living Like A Rock

Thursday, December 15th, 2011

And Yaakov lived in the lands in which his father sojourned, the land of Canaan. – Bereishis 37:1

Rashi tells us that after the Torah described the life of Eisav in an abbreviated manner, it then told over the events of the life of Yaakov in full detail. The reason for this is that Yaakov and what occurred to him are important in the eyes of Hashem, whereas Eisav and his life aren’t. So too, Rashi explains, we find with the ten generations from Adam to Noach. Each individual gets a mere mention until we get to the life of Noach. Then the Torah elaborates in full detail.

The same pattern is repeated with the ten generations from Noach until Avraham. We are told in condensed form – “so and so gave birth to so and so” – until we get to the life of Avraham. Then the Torah again goes into great detail because the life and activities of a tzaddik are important in the eyes of Hashem, while those a rasha aren’t.

Rashi continues with a mashol to help explain this concept. Imagine a man has lost a precious stone in the sand. He takes a sieve and begins combing through the sand to find it. The sieve picks up many small rocks along with the gem that he is searching for. Once he finds the gem, he takes it out and throws the rocks away.

This Rashi becomes difficult to understand when we focus on the purpose of a mashol. Chazal use parables to help bridge a gap. When we are dealing with concepts that are outside our frame of reference, our sages often use examples and metaphors to bring difficult ideas into terms that we can understand. For instance, if you were given the task to describe the color purple to a color-blind person, how would you portray it? Well, it isn’t blue and it’s not red. The problem is that since this person sees all colors in the grey spectrum, neither point of reference has any meaning. So you might revert to a mashol. The purpose of the mashol is to capture the essence of a distant concept and bring it closer.

Why does Rashi feel we need a mashol to understand this concept? It seems rather straightforward. Eisav wasn’t important, so the Torah told over his life quickly, whereas Yaakov and what he accomplished are significant, so the Torah went into the details. That seems like an elementary concept, not one that needs repeating or a mashol to help clarify it.

The Value of a Person

The answer to this question is that Rashi is explaining a concept that isn’t obvious at all – namely, the true value of a person. If you were to ask a chemist the value of a human being, he might say, “Well, let’s see…So much potassium…so much magnesium…I would estimate his value at about 60 cents.” That would be accurate in one dimension. If we were measuring the value of a human from the perspective of the chemicals that make up his body, we would find him rather inexpensive. However, from a different perspective, the human is the most precious entity on the face of the planet – something so precious that it was worthwhile to create an entire cosmos for just one person.

The difference in the value systems manifests itself in the way a person lives his life. If a person leads his life like any other occupant of this planet, as just another member of the animal kingdom, then he has the value of whatever his physical being represents – a couple of pounds of rotting meat. However, if a person recognizes the reason Hashem put us on the planet and leads the life of a great person, his value is incalculable.

Living Like a Rock

That is what Rashi seems to be telling us. If the Torah only mentioned Eisav quickly and then elaborated about the life of Yaakov, you would never quite understand the difference in their values. Let me give you a mashol: When a man is looking for a pearl in the sand and he picks up some rocks along with it, they are utterly, totally and completely valueless to him. He throws them back down. The Torah is using this mashol to give us the perspective of the stark difference in value. It wasn’t that Eisav wasn’t as important as Yaakov – he was valueless, something to be discarded. He was a rock. When he left this planet, that is all that was left – the body to decay into the ground.

This concept is very relevant to us because we tend to get very busy at this thing called life. Working, doing, going, taking care of this, taking care of that. But a person has to ask himself, “What is it that I am so busy with? Granted I have to make a living, agreed that I must take care of many basic physical needs, but has that taken over the focus of my life? Do I spend so much time focused on the mundane issues of survival that it has become the epicenter of my existence? If it does, then I am no different than a beast of burden; I am a rock.”

Dinah’s Daughter: A Vital Link

Thursday, December 8th, 2011

This week’s parsha, Vayislach, relates a shocking episode that causes genuine outrage in the Israelite camp — the Canaanite Prince Shechem’s brutal assault of Yaakov’s daughter Dinah. “And Yaakov’s sons came in from the field when they heard it; and the men were grieved and agonized in fury because he had committed a despicable deed against Israel by laying Yaakov’s daughter – a thing not to be done” (Bereshit 34:7).  The Torah then depicts the aggressive revenge of Yaakov’s sons against the Canaanite tribe, and the narrative flows on to additional future events, but of Dinah’s fate there is no further mention.

Two parshiyot later (Miketz) we learn of Yosef’s amazing rise to power in Egypt. Paraoh, in elevating Yosef to an exalted position, makes two ceremonial gestures. One: he grants Yosef a new name: “And Pharaoh called Yosef Tzafenat Paneah” (Bereshit 41:45) — and the second: he arranges a prestigious marriage for Yosef:  “…he gave him for a wife Asenat the daughter of Potiphera, the priest of On…”(Ibid.)

These two official gestures by Paraoh seem linked: a prominent Egyptian name and a prominent Egyptian wife were designed to launch Yosef’s illustrious governmental career in Egypt. Egyptologists tell us that in the language of ancient Egypt Tzafenat translates as “supplier of food,” and Paneah as “vital.” From the connotation of the name given to Yosef it is apparent that it was a title denoting his job as Chief Steward, a preeminent and powerful governmental position further enhanced by his marriage to a woman hand-picked by Paraoh. By taking an Egyptian name and marrying a highborn Egyptian woman, Yosef acquired great prestige and, most importantly, an Egyptian identity.

When he married the daughter of Potiphera, the priest of On, Yosef became a member of a socially and politically prominent family. On, the equivalent of the Greek Heliopolis, neighboring the Eastern Delta or Goshen, later the site of the Hebrews’ settlement, was the center of sun worship. During the reign of Akhenaton when sun worship was the official religion in Egypt, the chief sanctuary to Ra, the Sun God, was erected in On, rendering the Priest of On the Supreme Clerical Authority.

Asenat, the daughter of the Supreme Clerical Authority, eventually became the mother of Menashe and Efraim. On his deathbed Yaakov raised Menashe and Efrayim to become Israel’s tribal fathers, on par with Yaakov’s own sons. Asenat, who, according to the Midrash, was the adopted daughter of Potiphera (whom Rashi identifies with Potiphar) thus became one of the eemahos of Bnei Yisrael, sharing that honor equally with Rachel, Leah, Bilhah and Zilpah.

Who was Asenat if not the natural daughter of Potiphera? Where did she come from? Rabbinic literature picks up the thread that the Torah text did not continue to weave. Midrash Esther reveals that Asenath was in fact Dinah’s daughter, born of Dinah’s disastrous encounter with the Canaanite prince Shechem. How did the tale evolve? How did Dinah’s daughter become the adopted child of the Egyptian potentate? What miraculous coincidence helped the beautiful young girl to reach Potiphera’s home?

“And Dinah gave birth to a daughter and named her Asenat, saying, `To my woe did I bear her for Shechem the son of Chamor who had taken me by force to his house’” (Midrash Esther). The same Midrash discloses that when “Yaakov saw that his sons regard Asenat with hostility, he took a gold medal and wrote upon it the Holy Name and placed on her neck.”  With that Asenat left Yaakov’s household and the Almighty guided her to the house of Seleikha, wife of Potiphar.

“And Seleikha was barren of child, and she saw the lovely girl who came to her house, and she gathered her to her house, and she became her daughter” (Ibid.)

Years later, when Asenat was presented to him by Pharaoh, Yosef instantaneously noticed the medallion with the Holy Name on Asenat’s neck, and understood that it was the Divine Hand, which guided Asenat to him.

This Midrash solves several problems with one stroke. First, the brutality of Dinah’s fate is mitigated by this sequel. We are updated on Dinah’s story: the child born of the unhappy Shechem episode is redeemed from the stigma of her birth by eventually serving an essential role in the Divine plan. Secondly, through Asenat, Dinah’s rightful inheritance is restored, as she becomes a tribal ancestress on equal footing with her brothers. Thirdly, it allays fears about Yosef’s potential assimilation, marriage to a foreign woman being its ultimate element.

Not only did Yosef not marry an Egyptian, Chazal teach, on the contrary, he married a young woman provided by the Almighty Himself, a wife from the house of Yaakov to serve as a vital link to the next generation.

Accomplice To Evil

Wednesday, December 7th, 2011

The sons of Yaakov came upon the corpses of the city that had defiled their sister.” – Bereishis 34:27

 

Shechem, the son of Chamor, set his sights on Dina. He carefully laid a trap to entice her out of her tent, and then kidnapped and defiled her. When Yaakov and his sons heard what had been done, “they were extremely distressed . . . [and said] ‘So shall not be done!’ ”

Shechem became infatuated with Dina, and came to ask for her hand in marriage. “Name your price and I will pay it,” he said to Yaakov. The brothers of Dina answered Shechem, “To marry into our family, a person must have a bris milah.” Shechem and Chamor agreed, and they convinced the people of their town to be circumcised as well. On the third day of their milah, Reuven and Shimon took up their swords and killed out every male in the city.

After they were finished, the pasuk says “the sons of Yaakov came upon the corpses of the city that had defiled their sister.” The Sforno is bothered by the expression “the city that defiled their sister.” After all, it was Shechem alone who committed the act, not the city.

The Sforno answers by explaining that in that society, forcibly taking a woman was not considered abhorrent. If it had not been socially acceptable, Shechem never would have done it. Therefore, it is considered as if they were all participants.

The problem is that the Sforno doesn’t seem to have answered his question. Granted, the entire town may have been responsible for creating the social atmosphere that accepted such conduct, but all they did was to give Shechem the opportunity to act as he wished. They didn’t join him in the act. They didn’t aid him. They didn’t tempt him to do it. The most we can blame them for is giving the opportunity to Shechem to do as he chose. If so, how can the pasuk say the city defiled Dina?

A Cog in the Wheel of a Killing Machine

On April 14, 1944, the deportation of Hungarian Jewry began. Within 56 days, almost 500,000 men, women and children were transported to Auschwitz.

Imagine you were a German train switch operator at a station near Auschwitz. You came of age at a time when Hitler had been long accepted as the Fuehrer. From your youth you were indoctrinated with the belief that the fatherland was the glory of all true Germans, and that Hitler alone was the savior of the new Germany.

It would be hard for you to deny your knowledge of where this human cargo was headed, as the air was heavy with the smell of burning flesh. But you never killed anyone. In fact, you may not even have completely bought into the racial theory thing. Your job was just to keep those trains rolling. So you aren’t guilty of murder. Are you?

At the Nuremberg Trials, the Nazis defended themselves with the mantra, “We were only following orders.” Each participant denied his guilt by claiming he was just a cog in the wheel: not a murderer himself, not a decision-maker – just a lackey. Yet, even the secular world didn’t accept this because being a cog in the wheel of a killing machine makes you a part of a machine that kills. As such, you are a killer.

The Sforno is teaching us that even if a person is not an active participant in an act, he can be considered responsible for its happening. In a normal society, basic human rights are a given. If the society has failed to keep safeguards in place, then that society has failed in its most basic responsibilities. Every member of that group is therefore held accountable for that failure.

In the case of Dina, the townspeople made it possible for Shechem to do what he did. Without their easing the standards, it never would have happened. Once they lowered the accepted behavior, they paved the way for him, so they are held responsible for what he did.

Accessories to Terror

This concept is especially relevant in our times when the murder of innocent people has become an accepted manner of protesting for one’s political rights. Inflicting terror on men, women, and children is almost part of the political process – because it advances my cause.

And who is to blame? Certainly in a society that fosters such beliefs, every member of the society is guilty. When a mass murderer has succeeded in his wanton killing, and his hometown comes out en masse to celebrate, that town is a participant in the murder. If a culture encourages the brutal torture of civilians by teaching it as an expression of religion, then every member of that group shares responsibility for the outcome. If Palestinian Authority TV programming regularly shows messages of hatred that promote murder and self-mutilation, then the anchors, the actors, the scriptwriters, the camera men, and all of the support staff are part of the crime.

Why Did They Kill The Entire City?

Wednesday, December 7th, 2011

In this week’s parshah we read of the incident involving Dinah and Shechem, the son of Chamor, the nasi of the city of Shechem. Upon learning that Dinah was abducted by Shechem, Shimon and Levi killed all the male residents of the city, including Shechem and Chamor. There are various opinions that explain what the rational of Shimon and Levi was in killing all the inhabitants of the city.

 

The Rambam (Hilchos Melachim 9:14) says one of the seven commandments that the bnei Noach are obligated to follow is to set up a judicial system that will judge people who transgress any of the mitzvos that bnei Noach are required to follow. It is also the role of these courts to carry out punishment when a ben Noach transgresses. The punishment of a ben Noach for transgressing any of their mitzvah obligations is sa’if  (decapitation). If a ben Noach witnesses a transgression by another ben Noach, he must bring him to judgment. If he does not do this, the witness is deserving of punishment for not enacting judgment on the transgressor. The Rambam concludes that it is for this reason that the entire population of the city of Shechem was deserving of the death penalty, for they all knew that Shechem kidnapped Dinah – but did not judge him. Therefore they were all guilty of not enacting judgment, thus deserving of the death penalty.

 

The Ramban disagrees with the Rambam and asks the following questions: If everyone in the whole city was guilty and deserved the death penalty, why then did Yaakov Avinu not kill them himself? And if he was afraid of them, why did he disapprove of Shimon and Levi’s actions? After all, they believed in Hashem and did what was right. Additionally, the Ramban disagrees that a ben Noach is not killed when he does not bring another to judgment, since it is a positive commandment and bnei Noach are only killed when they transgress a negative commandment.

 

The Ramban writes that the residents of Shechem in fact deserved death, but for other reasons. He says that all of the seven nations of Cena’an worshiped idols and transgressed with arayos (immoral relations) and many other abominations whereby they deserved death. However, Yaakov believed that the penalty for these actions was not for Shimon and Levi to carry out. Additionally, Yaakov knew that they did not kill them for this reason, but rather in retaliation for what happened to Dinah. Thus he disapproved, and scorned them for acting out their anger.

 

The Ramban adds that when Yaakov initially heard all of his sons telling Shechem and his father to circumcise the entire city’s populace, he did not object because he thought that they would only use this ploy to rescue Dinah and then leave. Indeed while the rest of the brothers only intended to rescue Dinah, Shimon and Levi intended to take further action.

 

I want to suggest that according to the Rambam we can better understand the reason that Shimon and Levi did not kill the women of Shechem. The Rambam writes (Hilchos Melachim 9:14) that a woman cannot testify against, or judge, a ben Noach. Therefore the women of the city were not guilty of not trying Shechem, since there was nothing they could have done about it. However, according to the Ramban it is not clear why Shimon and Levi did not kill the female inhabitants of the city, since in his view they too deserved the death penalty. Perhaps they felt that in order to achieve retaliation it would suffice to only kill the male inhabitants, even though the females deserved death as well.  Additionally, this may have been an indication to Yaakov Avinu that they were acting solely out of retaliation and not to carry out the penalty that was due them.

 

The Ramban, in his dispute with the Rambam, said that although the residents of Shechem and the rest of Cena’an deserved the death penalty, it was not incumbent on Yaakov or his sons to carry out the judgment. I believe that the Rambam disagrees with the Ramban on this point. The Rambam (Hilchos Melachim 10:11) writes that the beis din of Yisrael is obligated to arrange judges for the gerim ha’toshavim that will judge them according to their laws, unless they see that they have their own judges. The Rambam adds that this is for the sake of the world.

 

The Maharam Shik (Teshuvos Orach Chaim 142) writes that according to this Rambam, beis din in Eretz Yisrael has an obligation to establish courts for the gerim ha’toshavim, comprised of either fellow gerim ha’toshavim or Jewish judges. Outside Ertetz Yisrael, beis din does not have this obligation. But if beis din wishes to establish a court system in order to maintain the correct lifestyle, they have this right – and are “zocheh la’shamayim.”

Crossword Puzzle – Jews Of Value

Monday, December 5th, 2011

 

Across

1. Notable role 19-Across will undertake once more

5. Pub. the martyr of 46-Across wrote for

8. ___  ___half of

12. Month 6 or 12

13. He killed Eglon

15. Like the girl in a song by 27-Across heard at some sporting events

16. Mythical “man”

17. Where gladiators trained

18. ___ ___ a close eye

19. See 1-Across

22. Loaded

25. Initials of “Stuart Little” author

26. Suffix that turns a chin into a people

27. See 15-Across

35. Money letters

36. When added to an app it’s a fruit

37. Google competitor

38. See-70 Across

43. Letter without postage

44. Sea eagle

45. Exam towards the end of a pregnancy (for short)

46. See 5-Across

50. Color of a holy animal

51. Rocker Snider

52. If you ___ ___

54. See 71-Across

61. Writer Zola

62. Actress Garr or Polo

63. Domestic friends, maybe

67. Fathers

68. You might set it

69. Pillage

70. Altruistic being in a famed children’s book by 38-Across

71. 54-Across is famous for becoming one in a classic horror movie remake

72. Be jealous of

 

Down

1. Horse food

2. Keats poem, often

3. Took a load off

4. Benjamin or Dan

5. Meeting spot for Yaakov and Rachel

6. Prayer spot

7. Famous Jewish Judge

8. Is in debt

9. It’s between Ura. and Plu.

10. Former video format

11. List ender

14. Chopped up

15. Approach paths

20. Comfort or Holiday

21. Stat. for Pujols or Fielder

22. Took a car on loan

23. Breathing woe

24. Lessen

28. Kind of pen

29. Ailing

30. When the ___ Breaks

31. Welcome item

32. “The Gift of the Magi” writer

33. Sounds

34.  ___ ___ Drugs!

39. 52

40. Some hammers

41. Santana or Carpenter stat.

42. Vacation letters

47. Obvious lion name

48. Furs

49. Perhaps the best college football team in the US

53. Sufficient

54. Joke

55. Arab leader

56. Let go

57. Make like Lot from Sodom

58. Like a signer, most likely

59. ___liant!

60. Flower that tends to last longer than a rose or daisy

64. A long time

65. Yom ___

66. Appropriate home for Babe

 

 

(Answers, next week)

Yoni can be reached at yglatt@youngisrael.org

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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