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FRUMToronto Articles Parsha Pearls

Devrei Torah relating to the weekly Parsha.

Blog Image: Hakhel.jpg
Parshas Kedoshim
In this week’s Parsha of Kedoshim, we find the great Mitzvah of “Mipnei Sayva Takum…” (Vayikra 19:32)--In the presence of an elderly person shall you rise, and you shall honor the presence of a Sage....

The Shulchan Aruch (Yoreh Deah 244) rules that one must rise if a person over the age of 70 (even if unlearned, but provided he/she is not wicked) enters within your 4 amos (i.e., within 6-8 feet of you).  One should remain standing until he/she has passed from in front of you.  Respect does not only consist of rising, but also includes respectful words and a helping hand (ibid. 244:7).  Let us take a moment to reflect upon our diligence in the performance of this Mitzvah as it may apply in our own homes, in the homes of friends and relatives, in Shul, in doctor’s offices, and in the various situations that may present themselves to us throughout the day.  Let us also thank Hashem for giving us the opportunity to be in their presence (and having the opportunity to learn from them, if applicable)--and making it a Mitzvah on top of that!

Additional Note:  Some opinions hold that the minimum age to which respect must be accorded is actually 60 and not 70.

Special Note Two: In this week’s Parsha, we also find the immense Mitzvah of “V’Ahavta L’Rayacha Komocha” (Vayikra 19:18)--you shall love your fellow as yourself.  The scope and breadth of this “K’lal Gadol B’Torah--great principle of the Torah” (Shabbos 31A) includes the following situations which are listed in, or based upon, the teachings of Love Your Neighbor (by Rabbi Zelig Pliskin, Shlita, the wonderful work referred to yesterday).  The Mitzvah is fulfilled when:
1.      A craftsman or worker is mindful that he is making a product, or performing a service, not merely for a source of income, but also for the benefit or pleasure of the person who will use it;
2.      Teaching another person Torah;
3.      Forgiving one who has hurt or offended you;
4.      Helping someone by making change for a larger bill or coin, or giving them a quarter for the parking meter;
5.      Going out of your way not to keep people waiting--trying to be the first one present on a conference call or for a meeting;
6.      Intentionally steering clear of annoying others--such as not slamming doors, making screeching noises with your nails, or doing something to which another person present would respond with “Uch”! or “How could you do that?!”  Note here that the “L’Rayacha Komocha” is dependent on the person who is present, and is not the standard of the average person.  You must specifically relate to the person who is with you;
7.      Bringing good news or happiness to others;
8.      Getting some air or taking a walk with someone who appears troubled or is clearly in need of talking;
9.      Complimenting someone for their job, effort, or appearance; and
10.     Giving Tzedakah to someone, or helping someone with something he needs help with, **BEFORE** being asked.
Two additional notes on “V’Ahavta L’Rayacha Komocha”:

a.      A Holocaust Survivor (Mr. Landau from Hungary) relates how he and hundreds of others were on a train bound for Auschwitz towards the end of the war.  The train stopped abruptly when Allied bombs started to fall around it, and everyone was ordered to disembark and take cover.  A Nazi supply train stopped at the same location as well, and the enemy soldiers scattered for cover.  The bombing stopped and the prisoners were ordered back on the train.  In the upheaval, Mr. Landau found a crate of sardines on the supply train and brought it back with him to the Auschwitz transport.  As all the prisoners alighted back onto the train, he handed them each a can of sardines which the hungry captives began to eat with zeal.  The Nazi soldiers came back on the train and noticed many Jews eating the sardines.  They asked the prisoners who had given them the cans, and no one replied.  The soldiers surprisingly left the train, and Mr. Landau’s life was spared--because instead of hiding the cans for himself, he had shared them with as many people as he could.  Chazal (Vayikra Rabbah 34) teach that “more than the wealthy person does for the poor person, the poor does for the wealthy”.  This last story is a similar indication of how the proper fulfillment of loving another as yourself did more for Mr. Landau than it did for the others on the train--for it actually saved his life.
b.      The following is brought in Growth Through Torah (p. 282):

Rabbi Chaim Koldetzky related to his family how he was once a guest at the home of the Chofetz Chaim.  The Chofetz Chaim personally made the bed for him and prepared his pillow and blankets.  Rabbi Koldetzky was startled to see that after preparing the bed, the Chofetz Chaim laid down on the bed for a few seconds to make sure it was sufficiently comfortable for his guest!

As we go through the day with the various acts of Chesed we perform for acquaintances, friends, and family, let us remember to take the extra step(s) necessary to elevate the level of our Mitzvah to a degree that Mr. Landau, or even the Chofetz Chaim, would be proud of!

Reprinted with permission from Hakhel MIS

Posted 5/1/2008 12:00 AM | Tell a Friend | Parsha Pearls | Comments (0)

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