Filtering Ones Environment by Michael Winner/8/2/2013 My apologies for the past two weeks. Since Tisha B’Av, up until this Tuesday, the kollel and the school system has “vacation”. Being that half of the community goes to their parents and other relatives (they switch or rent out their apartments with others who want to come up north), this creates some extra difficulties dealing with the children. There are few friends and no camp. That leaves us with bored children.So, we decided to pack the schedule as much as possible. Besides the busses, we were able to rent a car from somebody on three separate days. We’ve gone to Ma’a lot, Tzvat, Haifa, Netanya, Akko, Kfar Nachum, the annual Hike of Death on Har Hillel, and Meiron. We’ve had five separate familes come to visit us. Some stayed with us for a few days, some came just for a meal. We are beyond physically exhausted, and financially drained (lots of spending, less work being done). But, and this is important, the kids have really enjoyed it. So, when their friends get back from seeing their different family members, they’ll have what say about their vacation. Now, my wife and I can use a vacation. I’m thankful that the kollel starts up on Tuesday. However, just to add stress to that, we’re beginning a (minimum) two-year program on learning the laws of kashrus, and to make things even more complication, by new learning partner is Israeli and doesn’t speak a word of English. I have no idea how to pull this one off…Either way, the first 100 people can view some photos here: https://www.yousendit.com/download/bWJwM25LbEpvQUpqQTlVagOkay, on to Torah!This week’s parsha discusses the individual who attempts to sway people away from the Torah. Such a person is to be put to death by the person he tried to influence. Rabbeinu Bachya explains that this is not so much a punishment for the person, but rather an act of mercy for the community.The Rambam (Hilchos Dei’os 6:1) teaches us that it is human nature for people to follow the influences of their environment. For this reason, we are extra careful in which environment we raise our families. Even so, there is no “100% clean environment” and sometimes, rules need to be set for oneself or one’s children on who they associate themselves with. It might come off as ‘snobby’ not to allow one’s child to associate with others if those children pose a spiritual danger to them, but it certainly has precedence in this week’s parsha, and as we see, is also a mitzvah to do.Have a great Shabbos!