VOLUME 100 NUMBER 8
Iyar 5, 5782
May 6, 2022
Candlelighting Time 7:41 PM
One need not be so aware of today’s political scene to realize the ongoing mud-slinging that occurs if not daily, then very often. Although one may argue about the efficiency and coherence of our President, nonetheless, he is our elected President and if we were only to attack his policies and point out their deficiencies, it would be enough. However, the person of that office is under a daily assault. Even if the claims against him are fully accurate, they are damaging to the repute of that office.
Upon examining the parsha, perhaps we will gain a degree of clarity in this matter. The Torah forbids us to harbor anger towards a fellow Jew. And the prohibition focuses on our hearts. In the deep recesses of our hearts, we are not allowed to retain anger toward our fellow man even if it justified because he has conducted himself inappropriately.
Furthermore, we are required to rebuke him for his misdeeds. Even if he will become angry, it is our responsibility to assist him by restraining him from any future misbehavior. And when we rebuke him, we must do it gently, without embarrassing him but rather with pure intent. And if we shirk our duty, if he continues to sin, we are held responsible since we did not attempt to help him. The following verse states that we must love our fellow man just as we love ourselves. This entire mitzvah is a far cry from today’s ongoing verbal denunciation of our adversaries that is deprecating and leads to a reprehensible environment.
K’sav Sofer explains further in depth that we are only allowed to rebuke someone that we have a degree of certitude that he will respond favorably to our entreaty to change his deportment. However, if indeed it is clear that the other person will ignore the message that we are delivering to him, that we must cease and desist from confronting him. And if we do actually attempt to rebuke him fully aware that we will fail, then we have transformed his sins from that which may be unintentional into a full-fledged and fully knowing sin and for that we will be held accountable.
During this time of the year when we count the days between Pesach and Shavuos, we mourn the loss of the students of the great Sage Rabbi Akiva. The Talmud states that they were punished because of their maltreatment of one another. Even though it seems that the punishment does not fit the crime, a plague consumed them. On the other hand, his students were the eventual leaders of the next generation and if they were to conduct themselves improperly, then what kind of role models would they have been for the next generation?
Therefore, it is incumbent upon us to reflect and assess how we indeed treat our fellow man. Whether we are referring to our dear parents, family, friends, acquaintances, or anyone that we come into contact with, we must represent the correct attitude and respect that is due to others. Then when we have elevated our demeanor, we certainly have the ability to study Hashem’s Torah which consistently encourages us to reach higher levels of not only sanctity but, additionally and equally important, admiration and reverence for each other.
BYTE FOR SHABBOS
Even though we may feel at times that our words fall on deaf ears, we should not desist because even if one person listens and changes, we have accomplished a worthy goal. CHOFETA CHAIM