Dedicated Leilui Nishmat Avraham Ben Mazal A’h by Jack A Kassin and Family
In this week’s Parasha, in the first Pasuk, the Torah uses a double Lashon: Emor el hakohaniim benei Aharon veamarta... "Say to the Kohanim, the sons of Aharon, and say to them..." The Torah seems to be using the double Lashon for purposes of emphasis. The emphasis is on the importance of Chinuch; that is, educating our children in the proper way. Education in the home plays a pivotal role in the development of a child. It leaves an indelible imprint upon his character and attitude toward life -- religiously, socially and philosophically. As parents, we must understand Chinuch before we can educate our own children. The Vilna Gaon said that the way to educate is to fill the middle cup and let it spill over into the other cups. In other words, as parents, we are the middle cup and by setting a good example, we ensure that our children will learn from us the proper way to act. It has been taught by many Gedolim that the time to begin educating our children is not when they are four or five years old, but even before they're born.
If the motivation of parents or teachers is purely for the student’s benefit, they will succeed. The relationship is a very important factor in a child accepting the lesson at home as well as in school. A child must feel unconditionally accepted and loved. Rebbeim in Yeshivot often have this type of relationship with their students, a phenomenon which is rarely found in secular schools. Rav Simcha relates the story of a professor of history in a large secular university for over fifty years who had to come to the Yeshivah to say Kaddish for his father. The professor confessed to Rav Simcha that he's a lonely man now that he's in his latter years. The Rabbi asked him, "How many students have you taught in all your years teaching?" He did a calculation and came up with about 30,000 students. The Rabbi then asked, "How many have invited you to their wedding?" The professor replied, somewhat disheartened, "Not a single one." Imagine a student in a Yeshiva not inviting his Rebbe or Rosh Yeshiva to his wedding? It would be unheard of, because Torah is taught with love and this creates a bond between the Rebbe and the Talmid. A Rebbe views his students as his children and this close relationship is a natural consequence of this attitude.
The Torah continues to discuss all the laws concerning what the Kohanim can and cannot do, since they were chosen by Hashem to undertake all the services that need to be performed in the Bet Hamikdash for the benefit of B'nei Yisrael. Because the Kohanim are designated to perform the holy services, they have special rules they must follow so they don't contaminate themselves. For example, at a funeral or in a hospital, they cannot be near a dead person unless it is their immediate family. That's why even today, the Kohanim are not allowed to be in the same room as the body of the deceased, and at a funeral they must stay outside or in a special room that is designated for the Kohanim. Also, a Kohen cannot marry a divorced woman or a woman who is considered a harlot who has been desecrated. Rabbi Hirsch comments on the next Pasuk, "You shall sanctify him,” explaining that the Kohen is not merely an individual who acts as a representative of the Bet Hamikdash; he is responsible to the nation, and the nation is obligated to compel him to remain true to his calling.
The Kohen in the time of the Bet Hamikdash cannot be a person with a disability (a baal muum). Is the Torah discriminating against disabled people? Of course not! The Torah would never condone such discrimination. The rule has to do with the nature of people, which is such that they won't look at the Kohen properly if they are distracted by a characteristic that marks him as different. The Kohen is a 'Hashuv' (important) person and has to be looked at that way by the people, as an elevated servant of Hashem. The true nature of people is that they would not look at the Kohen properly if he had a missing limb or some other feature that stood out. This is similar to a judge who wears a black robe in order to instill fear and respect in the people, so they will honor him. The underlying reason for all these laws also has to do with the image the Kohen is meant to project, because he is to be considered as royalty and should be treated and looked upon as such. To visualize this, 'le’havdeil', think of the Queen of England, who is never seen on public occasions in casual clothes.
In the next Perek (22:23) we read, "You shall not desecrate My holy name, rather I should be sanctified among B'nei Yisrael; I am Hashem who sanctifies you." This Pasuk teaches us that we have an obligation to always look for ways to make a Kidush Hashem, sanctify G-d's name. To make a Kidush Hashem is the greatest mitzvah that we can do and we have seen throughout our history how so many people have made a Kidush Hashem by making the ultimate sacrifice with their lives. Although, B'h we don't live in the generation of inquisitions and progroms where the Jews had to give up their lives for Hashem, today we have a much easier and more pleasurable way to make a Kidush Hashem. What I mean by this is that we have many opportunities throughout our day to do a kind deed and thereby carry out a Kidush Hashem. We could be simply driving somewhere and we can let someone go ahead of us. If we're walking into a building, we can hold the door for someone as we let them enter before us. We can help an elderly person with a package or lend a hand to someone who needs assistance.
There’s an amazing story told in Rabbi David Ashear’s Daily Emunah about a businessman who made a tremendous kidush Hashem. Steve received an order about four years ago from a customer in Algeria for 10,000 pieces of Samsonite luggage. As a rule, Steve didn't ship the goods until he received the full payment. A check arrived for $833,000. Steve deposited it and then called his customer from Algeria to arrange the shipment. The customer did not answer his phone. Steve continued trying by phone and email, but there was no response. Finally, almost two weeks later, Steve received a phone call from the owner of a large chain store saying he was waiting to receive that luggage from Steve’s customer in Algeria, but unfortunately, the man passed away suddenly. The owner asked if he could buy the luggage straight from him for the same price he was going to pay the man in Algeria which was $900,000. Steve said, "No problem."
Now Steve had this extra $833,000 in his bank account that no one would probably ever find out about. He did not want to keep it, so he consulted with his rabbi, who quoted the Shulchan Aruch and said, "This is a great opportunity to make Kiddush Hashem." Steve then called the wife of his customer in Algeria and told her that he had some money that belonged to her husband that he wanted to return. She thanked Steve for the news and, strangely, she then asked if they could continue their conversation on Skype, because even though Steve called, she was being charged for the call. So he gladly Skyped her and now she would also see that he's a Jew. She saw him wearing a Kipah and she said, "Oh, I see that you're Jewish." He replied, "Yes, and I'm very happy to return this money to you." When she heard it was $833,000, she couldn't believe her ears. She thanked Steve profusely, and he then mailed her the check.
About a week and a half later, a stretch limousine pulled up in front of Steve’s office. A man came in and practically bowed down on the floor, kissing Steve’s feet. He asked, "What’s this all about?" The man explained that he was from Dubai, and he's the first cousin of the lady who received that money. The man couldn't believe that Steve returned all that money. He said, "You're an angel." And he said, "I'm a very wealthy businessman and I have a lot of wealthy friends in Dubai. Because of your honesty, I want to open up a whole new world of business for you in Dubai." So over the last three to four years, Steve has been making many multi-million dollar sales to these people in Dubai that he never met before. He has earned far more than the $833,000 that he returned.
Recently, he received an order from one of those customers for 11 million dollars. Steve received the check, cashed it and called the customer to discuss the shipping arrangements. However, this time Steve asked him a question. He said, "I hope you don't mind me asking; I'm just curious to know. You have never seen me before and I live on the other side of the world. How can you just send me a check for $11 million trusting that I'll send you the goods? I could just take the money and run." The man on the other line said, "If you didn't take the money from a dead man, you're not going to take the money from a live man."
Dozens of businessmen in Dubai sing the praises of the Jews because of Steve’s honesty. This is a real Kiddush Hashem and Steve has gained both in this world and the Next.
As the pasuk says: "I shall be sanctified among B'nei Yisrael; I am Hashem who Sanctifies you!"
May we all recognize our Kohanim as our representatives when we have the Bet Hamikdash again. May we also respect the memory of all the previous generations who died a Kidush Hashem before us and whose pious acts have given us the opportunity to continue the Jewish nation until this very day. May we also find our own ways to sanctify Hashem's name by making a Kiddush Hashem in business and in our everyday life events and be very aware to keep far away from making any Hillul Hashem! Amen!
Jack E. Rahmey with the Guidance and Teachings of
Rabbi Amram Sananes
Eliyahu Ben Rachel Malka Bat Garaz
Sarah Bat Chanah Rabbi Shimon Chay Ben Yaasher
Shulamit Bat Helaina Esther Bat Sarah
Batsheva Bat Sarah Esther Rabbi Meyer Ben Chana
Rav Haim Ben Rivka Rafael Ben Miriam
Yitzchak Ben Adele Moshe Ben Mazal
Chanah Bat Esther Avraham Ben Mazal
Moshe Ben Garaz Ovadia Ben Esther
Avraham Ben Garaz Rahamim Ben Mazal
Yaakov Ben Rachel Avraham Ben Mazal
Meir Ben Latifa Avraham Ben Kami
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