Be A Good Example
We learn from the behavior of others. The greater a person is, the more his behavior has the power to influence. When an ordinary person makes a mistake, those around him may be influenced. When the sinner is a Prince of a Tribe of Israel, the influence is tremendous. Rav Moshe Feinstein zt"l in his book, "Darash Moshe" asks the following question. Why did the Torah not mention the name of Zimri Ben Salua at the time of his sin? Only after he was killed by Pinchas does the Torah reveal his identity. Rav Moshe answers that Zimri was a Prince of the Tribe of Shimon. His deeds have a powerful influence on people. If his identity were known at the time of his sin, people would learn to sin from him. Only after he was killed and thereby proven wrong was his identity revealed. At that point, he could influence no one. Rav Moshe writes that we can learn a very important lesson from this. The best way to influence the behavior of another is to be an example. That is more effective than any reproof.
Children . . .
"Mendy talks during davening. I really want him to stop. I'll tell him how wrong it is and how much it bothers me. Then he will stop." Rav Moshe zt"l tells us to try a different approach. The best way to help Mendy stop talking during davening is to be quiet ourselves. He will learn from our example. Besides that, if everyone is quiet, he will have no one to talk to. Kinderlach, you can change the world. Start with yourself. Be an example. Others will follow.
Always and Everywhere
"Two one-year old unblemished lambs each day, as a korbon tomid (continual burnt offering)," (Bamidbar 28:3). During the time of the Beis HaMikdash, each and every day we brought the identical offering. Two lambs, one in the morning, and one in the afternoon. Every day. No exceptions. Why? Rav Moshe Feinstein zt"l explains that Hashem is teaching us the importance of consistency. A person must have faith and trust in Hashem. When? Always. Whether it is in the morning, before he begins his day, with all of its trials, tribulations and tests of faith, or in the evening after he returns home from his toil. Where? Everywhere. One cannot say that it is too difficult to learn Torah and fulfill mitzvos in this place.
Children . . .
"I just woke up. Do you expect me to be on my best behavior now?" "Yes Tzippy, it's important to start the day on the right foot." "I'm so thirsty. Give me a drink." "Is that how we ask?" "But I'm so thirsty." "You still must be polite." "Come let's push to get on to this bus." "It's not nice to push." "But we are trying to get on to this bus." "That does not mean that we can push." Our trust in Hashem is tested at all times and in all places. Good behavior is a reflection of our trust in Him. When? Always. Just like the korbon tomid.
It Doesn't Take Much
Succos, like all of the regalim was a time when many korbonos (sacrifices) were brought to the Beis HaMikdash. The usual mincha (meal offerings) and nisuch (wine offerings) accompanied those korbonos. However, there was an additional nisuch for Succos, the nisuch ha-mayim (water offering). Rashi (Bamidbar 29:18) explains that this mitzvah is hinted to in this week's parsha. The Mishna (Sukkah 5:1) states, "Whoever has not seen the simchas beis ha-shoeva (celebration of the water offering) has not seen happiness in his life." The Mishna and the Gemora go on to explain the elaborate celebration and the intense happiness of the participants. Golden oil lamps were lit that illuminated every courtyard in Yerushalaim. The Gedolim and talmidei chachomim of the day would dance with torches of fire in their hands. Singing, dancing and music from musical instruments too numerous to count topped off the celebration. What is the reason for such happiness for this particular mitzvah? Rav Moshe Feinstein zt"l explains that the water used in nisuch ha-mayim costs practically nothing. It shows us that a person should serve Hashem with whatever means he has. A poor person cannot claim that he cannot serve Hashem due to lack of money. Just water is enough to fulfill a huge mitzvah! Not just one individual but the entire Jewish people!
This teaches us that one does not need great wealth to reach spiritual heights and observe mitzvos properly. Is there any bigger reason for happiness than that?
Children . . .
What really makes us happy? Rav Moshe tells us . . . serving Hashem. Learning Torah, davening, helping others, shmiras haloshon; these give us true happiness. You have everything that you need to serve Hashem. Fancy things are not going to help you serve Him better. In fact, they might accomplish the opposite. Don't you feel happier already, knowing that you have everything that you need to be happy?
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