Torah.org Home Subscribe Services Support Us
 
Print Version

Email this article to a friend

Parshas Vaera

Feeling Human Beings

By Rabbi Label Lam

HASHEM said to Moshe, "Say to Aaron, 'Stretch out your staff and strike the dust of the land; it shall become lice throughout the land of Egypt.'" (Shemos 8:12)

Say to Aaron: This plague was not initiated by Moshe for the soil did not deserve to be stricken by Moshe because it protected him when he killed the Egyptian and hid him in the sand. Therefore it was stricken by Aaron. (Rashi)

What great deference is shown to the soil of Egypt!? Even while Egypt is being disassembled plague after plague Moshe is disqualified from striking the dust because it had saved him. What's going on here? Does the dust of Egypt really care whether Moshe or Aaron hits it? What would be so terrible if Moshe would be the one?

I recently heard the following remarkable story: Rabbi Yisaschar Frand was approached after a lecture he gave somewhere in Connecticut, by a somewhat elderly gentleman with a slight European accent wishing to register a serious complaint. Politely but firmly the man insisted that he had a problem with something that Rabbi Frand had written in one of his books on Parshas "Lech Lecha" on the verse where Avraham is promised by HASHEM that He will bless those who bless Avraham. Rabbi Frand asked to be reminded what he had written. With almost perfect recall the man reminded the Rabbi.

There was a story told there with great attention to historical detail, about a Jewish family during the 2nd World War that in desperation, anticipating the brutal invasion of the Nazis, had to give up their precious son to a gentile family. They understood there was a good chance they may never return, and therefore they made an appeal to the host family that if by any chance they did not come back they should contact family in Silver Spring, Maryland. They were provided with all the necessary information before the parents disappeared.

After the dust of war had begun to settle it became clear that the parents were not coming back to pick up their child and it was a safe assumption that they had perished. The host family then took the child to the local priest and requested that he baptize the boy. The priest asked them why they were baptizing a now older child. It is usually done earlier. The parents gleefully related that it was a Jewish child that they were left to care for and how the parents had entrusted them to send him to relatives America if they failed to return. The priest listened to all they had to say and he then refused to baptize the Jewish child. He insisted that if the parents wanted him to be sent to his relatives that is what they are morally obligated to do, and that is what they did. As it turns out that Polish priest was later appointed to become Pope and so he stood on the world stage for many decades, Pope John Paul. Rabbi Frand was highlighting that perhaps the enormous honor that redounded to that priest was for doing the right thing and refusing to baptize a Jewish child and insisting he be reunited with his family's family.

Rabbi Frand asked the man what was wrong with the story or the message of the story. At this the man became very emotional and he told Rabbi Frand, "I am that boy! How could you cast my adopted parents in such a negative light.?! They saved my life! They are like my real family! I send them money! I visit them every year! How could you write about them that way?!"

Rabbi E.E. Dessler ztl.. explains that of course the dust of Egypt is inanimate and void of feelings. Striking it would only have had a negative effect on the character of Moshe. For him to do so would diminish his sensitivity in the realm of gratitude. Now we can estimate "how much more so" with feeling human beings.


DvarTorah, Copyright 2007 by Rabbi Label Lam and Torah.org.


 






ARTICLES ON LECH LECHA:

View Complete List

The Perfect Covenant
Rabbi Pinchas Winston - 5765

Avraham Initiated The 2000 Years of Torah
Rabbi Yissocher Frand - 5766

I Believe
Rabbi Raymond Beyda - 5766

Looking for a Chavrusah?

The Standers and the Walkers
Rabbi Yisroel Ciner - 5760

Location is Everything
Rabbi Yissocher Frand - 5763

I 'Na' Know...
Rabbi Yisroel Ciner - 5761

> The chessed of Avraham
Shlomo Katz - 5773

“The Place That I Will Show You!”
Rabbi Label Lam - 5767

Uniquely Human
Rabbi Aron Tendler - 5762

Frumster - Orthodox Jewish Dating

Lucky Man
Rabbi Raymond Beyda - 5767

To the Land That I Will Show You
Rabbi Label Lam - 5763

What Happened To Lot?
Rabbi Yissocher Frand - 5765

ArtScroll

Bless You!
Rabbi Eliyahu Hoffmann - 5766

Reaching for Perfection
Rabbi Eliyahu Hoffmann - 5761

No Pain, No Gain
Rabbi Yisroel Ciner - 5758

From Egypt to Israel
Rabbi Berel Wein - 5766



Project Genesis

Torah.org Home


Torah Portion

Jewish Law

Ethics

Texts

Learn the Basics

Seasons

Features

TORAHAUDIO

Ask The Rabbi

Knowledge Base




Help

About Us

Contact Us



Free Book on Geulah!




Torah.org Home
Torah.org HomeCapalon.com Copyright Information