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Devar Torah - Matois-Masei

Friday, 17 July, 2015 - 12:00 pm

How Seeing Good in Others Leads to the Rebuilding of the Beis HaMikdash  

By Rabbi Shimon Raichik

Parshas Maasei is always read in the week of Rosh Chodesh Menachem Av. The beginning of the parsha says that Aharon HaKohen passed away on the 1st day of the 5thmonth in the 40 years after the exodus from Mitzrayim. The fifth month is Chodesh Av. Because this yartzeit is the only yartzeit recorded in the Torah there must be a special connection between the month of Av and the yartzeit of Aharon HaKohen.

The Rebbe explains that the unique quality if Aharon HaKohen is ahavas Yisroel. It says in Pirkei Avos that everyone should be from the students of Aharon; that we should all “love peace and pursue peace etc.”. We see in the Torah that the mourning of Ahron’s passing was greater than anyone else specifically because of the way that he brought people together (friend to friend, husband to wife etc.) Although he went to great lengths to achieve this, he never bent his standards to succeed.

The fact that the memory of Aharon’s legacy falls out during the month of Av is because it is the month that the Beis HaMikdash was destroyed. The last Beis HaMikdash, the second Beis HaMikdash which began our long galus from which we suffer to this day was destroyed because of the sin of sinas chinam of baseless hatred. Therefore, we all have the vital need to study the example of Aharon and meditate on how we are his students, in thought, speech and deed, and thereby nullify the cause of galus and thereby convert the month of Av to a month where we see the comforting of the Jewish people and as a result the entire world, as the month’s name describes; Menachem Av, with the rebuilding of the Beis HaMikdash.

The Rebbe showed us through his example and his teachings how to see the best in others. There was a bachor in Yeshiva in the 1950’s who wrote music. As a result of his involvement in music he was often late or missed the schedule of the Yeshiva. Later, when the hanhala went into the Rebbe to discuss the Yeshiva they told him about this young musician their thought that since he wasn’t keeping the schedule he didn’t belong in Yeshiva. The Rebbe replied that maybe he needs money to support his lessons. Not only did the Rebbe not allow the bachor to be sent away from Yeshiva, he wanted to make sure he received support develop himself so that maybe one day he would be able to utilize his talents playing Chassidishe music.

There is another story I heard about Nachum Markowitz. As a bachor he came to New York but was not learning in Yeshiva. Instead he was involved in Shmira and other communal activities. Once he went into the Rebbe for yechidus where he poured out his heart about the void he felt in his life. The Rebbe told him that he should learn for 5 minutes a day. After that if he has time, every so often he can add another minute. Nachum said that this one thing completely turned around his life. No matter what he made sure to learn those 5 minutes each and every day. Those 5 minutes made all the difference. They gave him food for thought throughout the day and gave him direction.

There is a letter from the Rebbe in which he advised a Yeshiva to look out for all students, even those that were sent away. If there are times when they need to expel a student because of his poor influence on others, they must nevertheless keep in mind his immeasurable value. Although they need to take a drastic step at times in the best interests of the other students of the Yeshiva; nevertheless we need to think about and help this individual because he or she too is a Jew and deserves any help that we can provide.

The Rebbe did not say that they had to change the Yeshiva’s standard or not demand a high level of learning and chassidus. There are many that said they couldn’t do it and the Rebbe sent them back to try again. At the same time we must do all that we can to find a way to include those that truly cannot so they do not fall outside the system. One size does not fit all.

This is a lesson for everyone. When we see something happening in the community that is dangerous, we must make the safety of the community as our highest priority but at the same time be careful not to immediately attack the individual and engage in lashon hara in an unbridled fashion bringing collateral damage to innocent families. We do not have permission as an individual or as a representative of a institution to issue condemnations. Rather we need to follow the example of Aharon HaKohon and the Rebbe. We need to realize that the only solution is to address both sides simultaneously; the standards, safety and needs of the community and the best interests of the individual and their families. To be able to do this requires what Chabad Chassidus teaches us; “Moach shalit al halev; The mind must lead the heart”. Only with patience perseverance and ahavas Yisroel can we build and rebuild both the individual and our communities. It is important to be a good example so that our youth should see the unity and the harmony in our community and realize the positive that Chassidus and our Rabbeim teach us and that our community offers.

A Good Shabbos A Good Chodesh

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