Nice Things First by Michael Winner/10/28/2021 Well, my “kollel” has been going on for just over a week now. All six kids have been showing up daily. Three of them are serious about their learning, three have … focus issues But, still they come and do what they can. Some days more, some days less. One thing I noticed about them: My Hebrew is not the greatest. I can get around and do what I need to do, but languages were never my strong point. I’ve worked hard to get rid of the American accent, since even I find it so difficult to listen to. I’ve gotten to the point that Israelis actually hear an English accent in my Hebrew (strange, I know, given my English roots). Anyhow … these kids, who according to the school have “chutzpah” problems, haven’t made fun of my Hebrew or my accent. And if I haven’t been clear on explaining, they haven’t given me trouble for that either. And I was thinking about why they have "spared me from their wrath". It didn’t take too long to realize that when you give children, especially at this age, respect, and show that you care and want to work with them, even if they don’t do everything you say, they still respect you. These guys have an afternoon teacher that does not care about them (compared to the main one, who is amazing), and here comes some crazy American who drops everything to learn with them, and they respect that. A very important lesson to be learned here in child-raising, whether yours or somebody else's. Heck, a very important lesson to be learned in human relationships. This week's parsha begins with the passing away of Sarah. Rashi explains that when Sarah heard that Yitzchok was being bound to be sacrificed and was saved at the last minute, she went into shock and passed away. Rav Shimshon Pincus learns an interesting lesson from here. I've seen it in practice a little, but never gave much thought to it. Once in a while, we might get a call from the school or from a teacher, and the first thing they would say is, "Hello, this is so-and-so from the school, don't worry, everything is fine. I'm just calling because…" Why would Sarah have passed away if she heard that in the end, Yitzchok was not sacrificed? It was because, the "notification" she received started with "Yitzchok was bound to be sacrificed," and only after, did she hear, "but in the end, he wasn't." During the brief time, whether seconds or minutes, between the bad news and the good news, her body went into shock. From here we learn the importance of reassuring the listener that things are okay in situations where they might believe that something terrible happens. So, when the school secretary calls up, a parent automatically thinks that something bad happened, and the secretary immediately starts off with "Everything is fine!" in order to reassure the parent. As we know, words carry a lot of power with them, and we always need to be careful with how we use them. And sometimes we need to be careful in which order to use them, in order not to give anybody an unnecessary shock. With that, I wish you a wonderful Shabbos!