MAY 28-29, 2010 16 SIVAN 5770
"The mann was like coriander seed and its color was like the color of bedolahI" (Bemidbar 11:7)
During their travels in the wilderness, a group of complainers began to protest against the mann. Rashi writes that in response to their complaint, Hashem wrote in the Torah a description of how wonderful the mann was, as if to say "Look, inhabitants of the world, at what my children are complaining about."
Rav Avraham Pam (quoted by Rabbi Ozer Alport) says that even though we don't merit to hear it, a Heavenly voice expresses frustration over the things we complain about. Sometimes we don't realize how fortunate we are. Every time a husband comes home to a messy house filled with childrens' toys and complains to his wife how she can't keep the house in order, a Heavenly voice challenges him: "How many childless families would gladly clean up the mess that comes with the children!" Every time family members complain about the supper menu, Hashem wants to point out how many poverty-stricken families would love this supper. Every time the parents of the bride and groom argue over petty wedding-related issues, they should wonder how many parents who can't find a match for their child would gladly give in to the other side…if only there were another side.
So the next time we find ourselves upset about issues that are minor inconveniences, we should remember the mann and open our ears to Hashem's response. Shabbat Shalom. Rabbi Reuven Semah
"Moshe heard the people weeping in their families" (Bemidbar 11:10)
When the Jewish people complained to Moshe about the mann, the Torah says that Moshe heard them crying "?????????????? - in their families." The Rabbis explain that in reality they were complaining about their family lives. They were really complaining about the fact that, after they received the Torah, their relatives had become forbidden to them to marry. But on the surface they were just using the mann as an excuse to be unhappy. That's why there were such devastating results in this episode. Because when one is bothered by something and yet uses something else as an excuse, we can never appease him fully, since we are only addressing the issue he mentioned and in reality the problem lies somewhere else.
It is always wise to remember this lesson when listening to complaints or criticism. We must learn to read between the lines and see whether there is some underlying problem rather than the one which is apparent. This applies both on a personal and on a communal level, and when addressed correctly, will provide a great chance of solving the real problem. Rabbi Shmuel Choueka
"And the people were complaining in a bad way in Hashem's ears."
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 Hashem. By finding what would sound like a complaint they felt justified in keeping a distance from the Creator.
When someone realizes all that Hashem does for him, he will not have a complaining attitude. There are times when a person is missing things and times when he is suffering, but complaining is wrong. The underlying theme behind a complainer is not necessarily that he wants the situation to be improved, but that he wants to have the benefits of complaining. The payoff here is that if I have complaints against someone, I can tell myself that I am free from the obligations I have towards him for all the good that he has done. Ultimately, a person who goes through life complaining does not appreciate the good in his life. By keeping his focus on what he is missing, he blinds himself to what he does have. Everyone could find something to complain about by looking hard enough. However, this is a direct contradiction to our obligation to be grateful to Hashem.
This same principle also applies to relationships between people. When a person wants to keep an emotional distance from someone with whom he should be close, a ploy used is to have complaints against that person. By this, he tries to free himself from gratitude to him for what he has done. The Sages have said that when a person does not appreciate what another person has done for him, he will eventually deny the good that Hashem has done for him. Show appreciation for everyone who helps you. (Growth Through Torah)
Don't you love something new? Most people feel a special excitement when they first acquire something. When you get a new car, for example, you take special care to keep it clean and shiny, inside and out. "No food in the new car" you announce to the kids. Sunday morning, or even a weekday if it rained the night before, your early-morning stop is the carwash to renew that showroom look on your prized possession. The first scratch is an emotional crisis - and pity the poor teenager if he or she was responsible for causing your "new baby's" first scar!
Every single day we are blessed with a new gift. If someone repents before going to sleep, Hashem, in His kindness, cleans his soul overnight and returns a bright, shiny soul to him with which to confront the new day's challenges. If it were a new car, how careful we would be not to scratch or soil our fresh new vehicle! Every spot, inside or out, would be quickly removed to return the treasure to its original luster.
We were given our souls to "ride" through life to our ultimate destination - the World to Come. Some of us are better drivers than others, but we should all do our best to keep our designated vehicle showroom fresh. The dirt and scratches are our transgressions, and the cleaning fluid and polish is teshubah (repentance).
When temptation strikes and you are about to violate any one of the Torah's commandments, think of your "new car" and its beautiful, glossy shine. Don't spoil it! And if you should hit a muddy puddle, get to the carwash as soon as possible and clean up your act. If you prevent a build-up of spiritual errors, you will arrive at your "destination" fresh and clean." (One Minute With Yourself - Rabbi Raymond Beyda)
A quick tip to boost the power of your prayer. Hazal tell us (Masechet Baba Kama Daf 92A) that Hashem loves the tefilot of one Jew for another so much that anyone who prays on behalf of a fellow Jew with similar needs will have his prayer answered first. A special service has now begun to provide people with names of others who find themselves in a similar predicament. You can call with complete anonymity and get the name of someone to pray for and give the name of someone that needs our prayers. The name of the service is Kol Hamitpalel. Categories include: Marriage; Income; Health; To have children etc.
Call to 646-279-8712 or email firstname.lastname@example.org (Privacy of email limited by the email address)
Please pass this message along. Tizku L'misvot.
Please preserve the sanctity of this bulletin. It contains words of
Back to This Week's Parsha | Previous Issues
This article is provided as part of Shema Yisrael Torah Network
Permission is granted to redistribute electronically or on paper,
provided that this notice is included intact.
For information on subscriptions, archives, and
other Shema Yisrael
Classes, send mail to email@example.com