Advice From Rav Samson Raphael Hirsch
If you do not respect yourself, others will not respect you either. This principle holds true as a spouse, as a parent, and as a nation.
Rav Samshon Raphael Hirsch passed away 132 years ago this week. Living in Germany in the late 1800s, he had to contend with many Jews who abandoned and belittled their tradition and culture and wanted to assimilate into the German culture that they considered more enlightened than theirs.
Here are some of Rav Hirsch’s penetrating words on this subject:
“In the same measure that you respect your past and the holy figures from your history, the nations of the world will respect you. It will likely happen that for one reason or another, you may gain more or less sympathy from the nations, but they will always respect you if you respect yourself.
“However, if you belittle your past and do not honor your ancestors’ graves and do not respect your Holy Temple and do not try to acquire proper knowledge of your Torah, how can you expect other nations to respect you?
“Many delights will come to you at the price of denying the Torah, but do not expect respect.”
In his memory.
Advice From Rabbanit Mizrachi
“The faces on Zoom always appear to me like the Western Wall. Lots of squares, like little bricks, a wall of souls. I almost want to put a note between those squares,” Rabbanit Yemima Mizrachi said with a smile during our meeting with hundreds of girls as part of Nifgashot, a bat mitzvah workshop.
Here are just a few of her thoughts and recommendations:
- “Try to remember when you were going to school. There were always girls who were not in the center of things, and now you might forget about them completely. I am asking you to do what Moshe Rabbeinu does. He leaves the comfortable royal palace and goes out to see his brothers who are suffering in order to help them.
“He is obligated to do this. It would be easier to stay in the palace. So please, remember those girls in your class with whom no one may have spoken since the beginning of the year.”
- “How did I begin to study and to teach the weekly Torah portion? I was a lawyer, and I once caught myself going to Google to check what the parshah was for that week. I could not believe it. So this is what resulted from all of the education my parents gave me, that I don’t even know the Torah portion of the week?
“So I started to give a small class which, baruch Hashem, has grown over the years.”
- “Advice for this stressful time: Rav Shlomo Wolbe said that we should pray at the start of the day over crises that we know will come. For example, if I know as a mother that I will get angry regarding my children not doing remote learning, I need to pray about this in advance. Not to get angry, but to get them to cooperate.
“And then, when the crisis comes, it does not surprise me. I already prayed about his and I am not stressed out.”
- “We learned this year how infectious something bad can be. How this pandemic can spread. But the good can also go viral and infect the entire world, too.”