I was recently updated of the social situation in the States. I can’t go into details about how I was updated, but let’s just say, I made a comment to somebody in the States about men having a genetic disposition for liking pizza. Yes, I know, a very risky remark to make in today’s world. Basically, people need to be super-duper careful in how they speak, lest somebody gets offended. I was warned that even saying the word "man" or "woman" in any joke, or even in conversation, should be avoided, lest somebody gets offended. After all, you never know if the man you are speaking to feels like a woman, and vice versa.
The next morning, I walked into the Ethiopian-run store, and the owner’s cousin was sitting there, enjoying a drink. A Moroccan walked in, said something I didn’t catch, and then jokingly said, “What? You’re ALSO an Ethiopian? I don’t speak to Ethiopians.” I cut in and “tried to make peace," explaining that he’s really European, but simply spent too much time out in the sun. We all got a laugh. We continued our shopping, he continued his drink, and that was it.
I guess one of the positives of being surrounded by people who want to wipe you off of the face of the earth is that you don’t have time to get "insulted" about every little thing.
Okay, on to Torah!
“And the members of the tribe of Gad and the tribe of Reuven came” (Bamidbar 32:2).
The Sifsai Cohen notes the order of the tribes. Gad came before Reuven, even though Reuven was the "older" tribe (being Yaakov’s first born). What’s the reason for the reversal?
He explains that when Reuven was rebuked by Yaakov for being impulsive, he took it to heart in order to rectify it. So, when it was time for these two tribes to ask permission to keep the Eastern bank of the Jordan as their own land, it wasn’t so much that Gad came first, but rather that Reuven held himself back, in order that he should not act impulsively.
Being impulsive can lead to making mistakes. Lots of them. In order to battle this trait, one needs to work on patience. By holding ourselves back and thinking things through before taking action, we can easily pre-empt a lot of foolish decisions.
Have a great Shabbos!