Parshas Behar

Rabbi Gidon Goldberg's picture

Dear Parents,

Yesterday we celebrated Lag BaOmer and celebrate we did. Please see the details in the newsletter of all of the festivities that took place. The teachers, Mrs. Weiner, Rabbi Lapin and the students are to be commended for all their efforts with the two-color wars and Lag BaOmer. We celebrate on this day for multiple reasons, but one is because the talmidim- students of Rabbi Akive, 24,000 in all stopped to perish on this day. Although they were all great Torah leaders but at their high level, they didn’t amply respect each other.

In as early as Pre-K students begin to sing the song “Veahavta Lereacha Kamocha – Love Your Neighbor as You Love Yourself”. Hillel shared with a non-Jew looking to convert that the entire Torah is based on this axiom and all the rest is just embellishments. The Ramban - Nachminides says that it is impossible for a person to love his friend as himself! He therefore learns that the verse means that it is important for a person to never be jealous and in fact to wish that his friend be equally as successful in bot wisdom and material questions. He should in fact be happy with the hatlacha and success of his friend as he would of himself. All too often fights in families begin based on pure jealousy and our desire to be right. People are willing to sacrifice personal gain and spend tremendous amounts of money just to prove that they are right even though it often means they will get less. They say, “As long as he does not get”.

The Ramban explains that a true believer understands that everything we have in wisdom and materialism is calculated by Hashem from one year to the next. If that is true, we have exactly what we need and what Hashem desired for us to have and the same is true of our friends. Interventions on our part are merely a waste of time as we believe that all is controlled by Hashem. Obviously, we must continue to work and put forth effort in all areas to achieve the success that Hashem has planned for us.

I was truly amazed at the comradery that the students display for each other on a regular basis. Based on the lessons of Rabbi Akiva it is crucial for all of us to explain and advocate that children and students embrace these lofty goals in the manner that they treat their friends. Rabbi Aharon Feldman, the Ner Yisrael of Baltimore Rosh Yeshiva at the Torah Umesorah Convention stated that bullying or making fun of another person with words can have long lasting consequences and is equivalent to inappropriate physical contact. What an amazing lesson for each of us to consider in our interpersonal relationships.

Let us all emulate the famous phrase of “Veahavta Lereacha Kamocha” which Hillel tells us is the entire basis of the Torah.

Good Shabbos,
Rabbi Peretz Scheinerman, Dean