The Middle East gets hot in the summer, and where I live, it also gets quite humid. Perhaps "quite" is not the right word. “Really” is better. So, when Simchas Torah ends and you know that the winter is coming, you get excited. Early nights, hopefully good rains, a drop in temperature. Hot soup.
Then the winter comes and you realize, “Hey! The house/apartment isn’t insulated one bit! And, I need to leave the bedroom windows open during the day, so we don’t get mold on the ceiling!” Then you get cold...really cold. My wife’s cousin, who lives in Chicago, was just telling my wife how she and her husband were remembering the winters of Israel and how different they are in America. Perhaps the temperature doesn’t drop as it does in Chicago, but it’s ALWAYS cold, and you can’t seem to warm up. My bedroom, when I climb into bed, averages 54 degrees. Mmmm…toasty. It’s great!! And it’s worth it when it comes with rain. And this year, thankfully, has been the best year I’ve seen in years regarding rain. May it continue!
When the nation of Israel was leaving Egypt, the Torah testifies, “And to all the children of Israel no dog barked” (Shemos 11:7).
They say that if you pass by a dog that is barking and say this pasuk, the dog will stoo barking. My neighbors father once told me that he and a friend were walking and a dog approached them and started to bark. My neighbors father said to his friend, “Don’t worry, we’ll say the pasuk and he’ll go away." His friend responded, “I know that the pasuk works, and you know the pasuk works…but DOES THE DOG KNOW????”
So, what is the big deal about the dogs' not barking? So what if they did? What harm does that cause us as we’re leaving toward freedom? From here, says Rav Pliskin, that when somebody is experiencing a joyful moment, one should be very careful not to say anything negative to mar the occasion.
Before somebody, for example, purchases an item, and asks for your opinion, feel free to give it. You’re helping them make a decision. But after they buy it? Don’t. Don’t say one negative thing about it. Just praise it and tell them that it looks great. Because, at this point, the purchase is made, and all a person wants to hear right now is that he made a nice purchase. Does it cause them any real, physical harm if you said something negative? No. But, you will certainly spoil their good mood.
So, we should always be careful to keep our negative comments to ourselves (unless there is a real need for them), even if it’s “only” to keep a person in a good mood.
Have a great Shabbos!