Chukas: Personal Examples

One of the most corrupt government offices is the Israeli Post Office.  If you want a cushy job where you don’t have to actually work, that is the place.  It’s not unknown for peoples' packages to go missing, checks to be stolen, etc. It’s happened to us, once too often.  In fact, we sent letters to friends in Yerushaliyim, and they received them 6 weeks later!  Three of those weeks, they were sitting in the outgoing letter box!


We’ve been expecting a few packages that we ordered two months ago and never received.  You’re supposed to receive a ticket with the information, go to the pick-up center, and get your package.  But, like many times, we haven’t actually received the ticket.  After a while, since you can’t pick it up, they send the package back to the sender saying that we never came to pick it up.  So, I walked into the pick-up center and said that I haven’t received the tickets, but I believe the packages are there, and I want to go in to check myself.  “Impossible,” he said.  “We have over a thousand packages that people aren’t picking up, since they are never being told that they have them in the first place.”




But what made me really mad was last week government officials came to the kollel to check the attendance.  Since the kollels receive a paltry sum of assistance from the government, the government wants to make sure that people are actually showing up to learn.  If the minimum amount of people aren’t there, the kollel loses the assistance.  Why can’t they do the same thing with every other governmental agency?


Before we begin, my wife asked that I put out this link:  A mother in our community has been fighting the good fight against her illness for several years now.  The photo on the page is from three years ago—she's aged 20 years since—and is in a very difficult situation, to say the least.  If anybody has a little to help her, every bit will be going to a very legitimate cause.


In this week’s parsha, Moshe is punished for hitting the rock, rather than speaking to it, to bring forth water.  As the Rambam writes: “Moshe’s transgression was that he inclined towards anger when he said, ‘Listen, now O rebellious ones!’  Hashem was critical of him for becoming angry in the presence of the congregation of Israel in a situation that did not warrant it.  Such conduct in a man of his stature constitutes a desecration of Hashem’s name because everyone learns from his actions and his speech.”


Rav Shach said on this, “From here we can infer the heavy responsibility that lies upon an educator.  He must serve as a shining example for his pupils and exhibit every good trait.”


Once, a young girl became seriously ill and let her teacher know how much it helped when she came to visit her in the hospital.  The teacher, however, was concerned that the amount of time she was spending at the hospital with the student would affect her ability in the classroom, where she had other responsibilities.  She went to Rav Shach to ask where her priorities lay.  He responded that the concern she showed for her student was in itself a tremendous lesson for the rest of the girls.


As we mentioned last week, the greatest education that people can give is through their own growth and sacrifice.  Setting an example is far more powerful, both in the negative and positive, then what one teaches in the classroom or at home.


Have a great Shabbos!


Michael Winner