Brotherly Love

December 15, 2013

3 min read


Shmot (Exodus 1:1-6:1 )

She opened it and saw him, the boy, and behold! A youth was crying. She took pity on him and said, “This is one of the Hebrew boys.” (Exodus 2:6)

Pharaoh’s daughter went to bathe by the river and noticed a little casket floating in the water. The verse states that she opened the casket and saw the “yeled”, boy, and behold a “naar”, youth, was crying. She then realized that it was a Jewish baby. Why does the verse switch from boy to youth, and how did she work out that it was a Jewish baby just because he was crying?

The Baal Haturim explains that the verse is actually referring to two separate individuals. She opened the casket and saw the boy – Moshe. She then noticed that the youth was crying – Aharon. When she saw one brother crying for another she realized that it must be a Jew!

The Rebbe of Kapishnitz (R’ Avraham Yehoshua Heschel), once visited one of his wealthy followers. The Rebbe knocked on the door. The wealthy man opened his door and was taken aback at the sight of the holy Rebbe standing at his door step. He asked in bewilderment, “Why did the Rebbe have to trouble himself to come to my home? The Rebbe could have summoned me and I would have come at once!”

The Rebbe answered, “I know of a certain family that is in desperate need of help. The husband is without work, and, to add to their hardship, they have a son who is ill and requires special medical attention. Their expenses are well beyond their means.”

“But Rebbe,” the wealthy man said, “did this necessitate you having to exert yourself by traveling to my home? Why did the Rebbe not simply send me a messenger, and I would have gladly given whatever sum of money that was needed!” “This particular request is of great importance to me,” the Rebbe responded. “It was therefore essential that I come to your home personally.”

“I am prepared to give as much money as necessary!” the man exclaimed. “Just tell me, whom shall I make the check payable to?” The Rebbe paused and said, “Make the check payable… to your brother!!”

Often one wants to help others and searches far and wide for opportunities to do so, but he may find himself ignoring his own family members. A way to test whether you really care about others or whether you’re helping them just for recognition is by examining the way you help at home. Real kindness starts with your own brother!



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