Pinchas (Numbers 25:10-30:1 )
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GOOD MORNING! My special thanks to all who have donated to
help rebuild the Aish Center in London! What is the value of a kindness? Perhaps the following story will give some insights!
Years ago I lived in Israel and worked at Aish headquarters in the Old City of Jerusalem. One time I am waiting behind a Volkswagen van at the stop sign before the Jerusalem-Jericho road. A big dump truck heading north wants to turn left to go towards the Dung Gate. However, there was not enough room for him to maneuver around the van at the stop sign.
What does the driver of the van do? He starts to back up. I blare on my horn and he keeps coming ... until he smashes the front of my car. The driver was an Arab transporting his fellow workers. We exchanged insurance information and I contacted my insurance agent, Shalom Goldman.
All was well until Shalom Goldman informs me that the driver of the van claims that I rear-ended him. My agent advised that we invite the other agent and the van driver for a sulkha, a peace meeting, to discuss the incident. We met at my agent's office. Shalom served Turkish coffee, cookies and cake. When the refreshments were finished Shalom turns to the driver of the van and says, "You are our honored guest, therefore, you go first. Tell us what happened - no one will interrupt you - and I will take down every word, word for word."
The van driver began, "There was a dump truck that wanted to turn into the street, but he couldn't make it around me. So, I backed up my van to let him in and I hit the car behind me." HE FORGOT TO LIE! I couldn't believe it. Shalom Goldman was kicking me under the table to keep quiet. The other insurance agent looked at his client with his mouth wide open and gave his client an angry look.
When it was my turn to speak I confirmed the facts. The driver then agreed to pay for the damages.
What lessons can we learn from this? If you are kind to someone, oftentimes he will respond to your kindness. Life is often life a mirror --it reflects back to you what you project. It says in Proverbs 25:21:
"If your enemy is hungry, feed him bread; and if he is thirsty, give him water to drink."
Even an enemy will be transformed if you are kind to him.
And what about the kindness of the Arab driver for the dump truck? What lesson can we learn from that? When you do a kindness, you have to make sure that you don't damage others in the process!
Writes Rabbi Zelig Pliskin in his book, Kindness - Changing People's Lives for the Better (available at your local Jewish bookstore, at judaicaenterprises.com or by calling toll-free to 877-758-3242):
"Developing a love for kindness transforms your life as you transform the lives of others. Kindness is one of the pillars of the world. Every act of kindness elevates your character and makes you a kinder person. As you continue to increase your love for kindness, you increase the amount of joy in your life.
"There are minor acts of kindness and major acts of kindness. Every kind deed and word is precious and valuable. Every kind deed and word is eternal. And when your actions and words have a positive lifetime effect on someone, you have created something magnificent, whether or not the extent of its greatness is recognized by any other mortal.
"As you expand your consciousness of kindness, you create a more spiritual life. Your kindness and compassion for the Creator's children is an expression of your love for our Father, our King, Creator and Sustainer of the universe. With your kindness and compassion you emulate Him. As you help others, you create an inner light that illuminates your entire being.
"A master artist looks at an entirely different world than someone who lacks his vision. We can all train ourselves to see more deeply. When you see the world as a place in which to do kindness, you see a different world. You see a world full of spiritual opportunities wherever you are and wherever you go. Let this be your world."
Torah Portion of the Week
In last week's Torah portion, Pinchas acted to stop a public display of immorality. He thus stemmed the plague of retribution which was killing the multitudes. He is rewarded by being made a Cohen - by Divine decree.
The Almighty commands Moshe to attack the Midianites in retribution for the licentious plot the Midianites perpetrated upon the Israelites. A new census is taken of the Jewish people revealing that there are 601,730 men available for army duty. God directs the division of the Land of Israel amongst the tribes. The Levites are tallied. The daughters of Tzelafchad come forward to petition Moshe regarding their right of inheritance. Moshe inquires of the Almighty, Who answers in their favor.
Moshe asks the Almighty to appoint a successor and the Almighty directs Moshe to designate Yehoshua (Joshua). The Torah portion concludes with the various offerings - daily, Shabbat, Rosh Chodesh and holidays.
based on Love Your Neighbor by Rabbi Zelig Pliskin
The Torah states:
"And the Almighty said unto Moshe, 'Take Yehoshua, the son of Nun, a man in whom is the spirit and place your hand upon him (to designate him as the leader)." (Numbers 27:18)
Rashi, the great commentator, writes regarding this verse:
"Appoint a man to announce the laws loudly for Yehoshua so that he shall expound the Law during your lifetime; so that people shall not say concerning him, "he was not able to lift his head during the days of Moshe."
What do we learn from this? We must do all that we can to strengthen the power of Torah leadership. The Almighty - and Moshe - wanted to ensure that the Jewish People had a leader to succeed Moshe who they would follow. Thus Moshe wanted his successor appointed before he died. He also wanted Joshua to publicly teach Torah in his presence to demonstrate that Moshe sanctioned and approved of Joshua's position. This was a great kindness to both Joshua and the Jewish people!
The renowned Rabbi Akiva Eiger once visited Nicholsburg. Rabbi Mordechai Benet, the Rabbi of the city, honored Rabbi Eiger by asking him to deliver a lecture in Jewish law to his congregants on Shabbos. In the middle of the lecture, Rabbi Benet interrupted with a question which seemed to upset Rabbi Eiger's entire argument. After a short pause, Rabbi Eiger descended from the pulpit, vanquished. After the service, Rabbi Benet begged Rabbi Eiger for his forgiveness. With a smile, Rabbi Eiger disclosed that he really knew the answer to the question.
"But, why didn't you tell me in the synagogue that I was in error?" asked Rabbi Benet.
"I did not want to belittle you in the eyes of your congregation," replied Rabbi Eiger. "After all, you are their leader; they look up to you. I am only a passerby; my reputation is inconsequential."
If a great rabbi can forgo his own honor to strengthen the honor of another, then can't we also forgo our own honor for the honor of others?
CANDLE LIGHTING - July 9:
(or Go to http://www.aish.com/candlelighting)
Guatemala 6:16 Hong Kong 6:52 Honolulu 6:57
J'Burg 5:12 London 8:56 Los Angeles 7:49
Melbourne 4:55 Miami 7:56 Moscow 8:51
New York 8:09 Singapore 6:58
QUOTE OF THE WEEK:
Perhaps you will forget tomorrow
the kind words you say today,
but the recipient may cherish them over a lifetime.
-- Dale Carnegie
In Honor of the Birthday of