Be'halot'cha 5770

May 23, 2010

8 min read


Be'halot'cha (Numbers 8-12 )

GOOD MORNING! What does a person want out of life? People want love, riches, happiness, meaning. And when people get older they like to remind you, "If you have your health, you have everything." Whatever a person wants out of life, one of the essentials is the ability to have peace and make peace with others.

Recently was published a phenomenal book, Seek Peace and Pursue It -Proven Strategies to Resolve Conflicts and Improve Relationships by Dr. Dovid Lieberman. You may remember me extolling Dovid Lieberman's previous book Real Power - Rise Above Your Nature and Stop Feeling Angry, Anxious or Insecure. His new book has a place in every home and would be a welcome part of any school or college curriculum.

King David wrote in Psalm 34, "Seek peace and pursue it." Unlike other mitzvot, commandments, that are commanded when you happen into the circumstance, seeking peace requires us to be proactive. The great sage Hillel taught, "Be a disciple of Aharon - love peace and pursue peace, love people and draw them near to the Torah" (Pirkei Avos 1:12).

Whenever Aharon heard that two people were involved in a quarrel, he would go to one of them and tell him that he had recently met his friend and had heard him say, "The quarrel was my fault, and I bitterly regret it." Aharon would then go to the second person and tell him the same fabricated story. When the two people would meet again, they would hug one another and be friends. For this reason, the entire nation wept when Aharon died (Avos D'Reb Noson 12:3).

Dovid Lieberman can teach you how to be a great peacemaker - defuse conflicts at the workplace when opinions and personalities clash; reunite squabbling adult siblings; help handle overly sensitive, passive aggressive or controlling personalities; restore honesty and trust to troubled relationships; improve relationships with your children (of any age!) - and perhaps most important, to enhance your marriage and create a more rewarding emotional connection with your spouse.

In dealing with the key to family harmony (Shalom Bayis in Hebrew), Dr. Lieberman shares a number of insights: People are filled with resentment as a result of a sense of entitlement and expectation that their spouse will give to them. Love is based on giving to the other person and not having expectations of receiving (we don't have expectations that our children will give to us - or even appreciate what we give them). Expectations are the source of most misery. Rabbi Eliyahu Dessler once wrote, "When demands begin, love departs." Rabbi Dessler would tell newly married couples at their wedding, "Make sure, my dear ones, that you always desire to give happiness and pleasure to one another, as you feel at this time. And know, that the moment that you start making demands from each other - behold, your happiness has already left you."

Writes Dr. Lieberman, " 'Giving in' is not about being selfless, but about being sensible. You can be right or you can be happy. You can't always be both." A man shared with me that he stopped trying to win every discussion with his wife when he realized that if he won that meant that his wife lost - and he didn't want to be married to a loser!

In the chapter "Five Foundations of a Successful Marriage," Dr. Lieberman starts with the first foundation: "How to Communicate with Your Spouse." In short: Disagreements are natural in marriage. You need to communicate before they become resentments (resentments are frozen anger). Your spouse is not a mind reader. Make sure you're not projecting your own faults; correct your faults and the problem will likely go away. Those who seek to educate, improve and refine their spouse through criticism, labor under a false and destructive impression. He then shows you how to create the atmosphere and means of communicating in harmony - wait 24 hours, pick your time, keep a soft and kind voice, express appreciation and gratitude first.

The Zohar teaches, "God is peace, His name is peace and all is bound together in peace." If you'd like to sharpen your peace making skills, lead a happier life and help others to have happier relationships, then purchase a copy of Seek Peace and Pursue it from your local Jewish bookstore or at

For more on "Peace" go to!


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Torah Portion of the Week

Aharon is commanded in the lighting of the Menorah, the Levites purify themselves for service in the Tabernacle (they trained from age 25-30 and served from age 30-50), the first Pesach is celebrated since leaving Egypt. The Almighty instructs the Jewish people to journey into the desert whenever the ever-present cloud lifts from above the Tabernacle and to camp where it rests. Moshe is instructed to make two silver trumpets to be sounded before battle or to proclaim a Yom Tov (a holiday).

The people journey to the wilderness of Paran during which time they rebelled twice against the Almighty's leadership. The second time they complain about the boring taste of the manna and the lack of meat in the desert. The Almighty sends a massive quantity of quail and those who rebelled died.

Moshe asks his father-in-law, Yitro (Jethro) to travel with them in the desert, but Yitro returns to Midian. (It has been said that the difference between in-laws and outlaws, that at least outlaws are wanted ... Of course, in this case the father-in-law was wanted.)

Miriam, Moshe's sister, speaks lashon hora (defaming words) about Moshe. She is struck with Tzora'as (the mystical skin disease which indicated that a person spoke improperly about another person) and is exiled from the camp for one week.

* * *

Dvar Torah
based on Growth Through Torah by Rabbi Zelig Pliskin

The Torah states:

"And the people were complaining in a bad way in the ears of the Almighty" (Numbers 11:1).

Why were the people complaining?

Rashi comments that when the people were complaining, they had no real cause to complain; they were just looking for an excuse to separate themselves from the Almighty. By finding what would sound like a complaint, they felt justified in keeping a distance from the Creator.

When someone realizes all that the Almighty does for him, he will not have a complaining attitude. There are times when a person is has unfulfilled needs and times when he is suffering. That is a time for action and prayer.

Complaining, however, is wrong. The underlying theme behind a complainer is not necessarily that he wants the situation to improve, but that he wants to have the benefits of complaining - to feel free from the obligations for all the good that the other person (or the Almighty) has done. Ultimately, a person who goes through life complaining does not appreciate the good in his life.

When one focuses only on what he is missing, he blinds himself to what he does have. No matter how much you do have, there will always be something to complain about if you look hard enough. This attitude is not merely a means by which a person causes himself a miserable existence. It is a direct contradiction to our obligation to be grateful to the Almighty. Anyone having this negative attitude must make a concerted effort to build up the habit of appreciating what he has and what happens to him. This is crucial for both spiritual reasons and for happiness in life. This especially applies to one's relationship with his or her spouse!


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"Be careful to honor your wife,
for blessing enters the house
only because of the wife."
(Talmud Bavli, Bava Metzia 59a)


With Deep Appreciation to

Archie Newell

Hermitage, TN


Shabbat Shalom,

Rabbi Kalman Packouz

Click here for Rabbi Packouz's bio
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