This week, I spoke with the children about the bells that the כהן גדול wore on the bottom of the מעיל. The posuk requires "… the sound (of the bells) shall be heard when he enters the קדש …” The Gemoro relates that Rabbi Yehoshua derived a law of derech eretz from these bells. Just as the bells announced the Kohain’s arrival, so too, one should not barge in on someone, catching them off guard; rather one should knock first.
Rav Gifter zt”l taught an additional, valuable insight from these bells. Each time the Kohain Godol took a step, he “knew” about his step, and so did everyone else. This sends a very subtle psychological message: every step I take has an impact. Every step “makes a sound.” This lesson applies to the Kohain Godol and to every leader in the Jewish community, but in truth we should all strive to maximize the effects of our actions.
We need to remember that every step of ours – the decisions we make – as parents has far-reaching effects. Furthermore, every step we take is being observed closely by our children and serves as a model for their behavior. This is why we have included a home component in our Brochos Awareness program: so that the children will see the same emphasis on brochos at home as at school, and so that brochos should be incorporated into their daily routine. They are watching our “steps.”
Children can understand this metaphor. Let’s convey it to them and use it to explain that every action counts and “makes a sound.” As we taught the children regarding their brochos: כשם שאדם מברך להקב“ה כך הקב“ה מברכו.
If we say our brochos with passion, Hashem sends brochos down to us. Yes, our “steps” make a difference in shomayim as well.
Rabbi Gidon Goldberg
Head of School