June 2, 2020 1:06 pm at 1:06 pm #1866842abukspanParticipant
Nasso 2— Talking to Yourself
איש או אשה כי יפלא לנדר נדר נזיר להזיר לה’
A man or a woman who shall set himself apart by taking a nazirite vow to set himself apart to Hashem (Bamidbar 6:2).
As a follow-up to the parashah’s listing of the laws of nezirus, the haftarah describes the advent of a famous nazir: Shimshon HaGibbor. The Navi (Shoftim 13:2-14) describes how a malach appeared to the wife of Manoach and told her that she will bear a son who will be a nazir from the womb. After she relayed the story to her husband, Manoach, he davened that the malach should come again and teach them how to treat their son, the nazir. When the malach came back, Manoach asked for instructions and the malach said, “Of all that I said to the woman, do. From all that comes out of the grapevine she shall not eat, and wine or strong drink she may not drink, and any unclean thing she may not eat. All that I commanded her, do.”
There are several questions on these pesukim. First, why did Manoach need confirmation of what the malach had said? In addition, even if he needed the laws repeated, why did he have to track down that same malach to hear them again? Furthermore, what new information did Manoach actually receive from the malach when he came back? It seems as if the malach was just repeating the instructions he had given to Manoach’s wife.
Rav Meir Simcha HaKohen (Meshech Chochmah ad loc.) explains that when instructing Manoach, the malach said, “tishamer,” and “tishmor.” Both words are directed specifically — in lashon zachar and nochach (second person masculine) — toward Manoach, not his wife or his child. The malach was telling Manoach that if his child was to be a nazir, then as his father, he was also to let his hair grow, to not allow himself to become impure, and to refrain from wine and grapes.
Rav Schwab (Maayan Beis HaSho’eivah) explains that Manoach was not seeking an answer to a shailah about nezirus, but an answer to a shailah about chinuch. He was legitimately concerned about how to raise a child who comes with his own rulebook, one that differs from his father’s: “How can I expect him to be a nazir when I am not one myself?”
To that, the malach answered, “You’re absolutely correct! It is not possible. For that reason, of all that I said to the woman, you must do, as well.” In order to create a nazir, Manoach had to become a nazir. If you want to influence others to lead a certain type of life, don`t preach to them; practice and model for them.
This same message is seen in the sefer Kedushas Tzion (Beshalach), by the Bobover Rebbe, Rav Bentzion Halberstam. At the time of Krias Yam Suf, Hashem commanded Moshe (Shemos 14:16), “Harem es mat’cha — Lift up your staff.” The Baal HaTurim tells us, “Gimmel ba’mesorah — The word ‘harem’ appears three times in Tanach.” One other instance is in Yeshayahu (58:1), where it says, “Ka’shofar harem kolecha — Raise your voice like a shofar.” And the other is in II Melachim (6:7), where it says, “Harem lach — Pick it up for yourself.”
The Kedushas Tzion explains this homiletically. One way to teach children the right way to behave is by using the stick, but this method is best off being moved to the side: “Harem es mat’cha — Lift the rod and do away with it.” Better not to threaten punishment when educating children. Rather, “Ka’shofar harem kolecha — Use your voice to give mussar,” with words that keep them in check and teach them the right way. And the way to make your words most effective is by practicing what you preach, as in “Harem lach — Lift up yourself.” When the parent or teacher elevates himself, and sets an example of how to behave, the child will more readily listen to his reproof, obviating the need for punishments or sticks.
This lesson can also be gleaned from the last pasuk in the parashah (7:89): “U’ve’vo Moshe el Ohel Moed le’daber ito vayishma es haKol midaber eilav me’al haKapores asher al Aron HaEidus mi’bein shnei haKeruvim vayidaber eilav — When Moshe arrived at the Ohel Moed to speak with Him, he heard the Voice speaking to him from atop the Kapores that was upon the Aron HaEidus, from between the two Keruvim, and He spoke to him.”
Rashi explains that the word midaber (with a chirik under the mem) is like misdaber, which is in the form of hispa’el, connoting something someone does to himself. In this case, it is as if the Torah is telling us that Hashem was speaking to Himself, and Moshe was just listening in. Rashi is saying that the reason for this is that it is more derech kavod (honorable) that the Melech, the King, speaks to Himself and is overheard by Moshe, rather than to say that the King speaks directly to a commoner.
The Seforno gives a different reason. If you want to have an effect on someone else, you must preach to and become that person yourself. Rav Shach (Machsheves Mussar p.558; also cited in Ohel Moshe pp.258-259) echoes the words of Seforno and writes that although we have no true comprehension of this in the way it is expressed in the pasuk — how Hashem can be talking to Himself in order to practice what He preaches — this is, after all, the basic and simple meaning of Rashi (not including the reason, where Seforno differs), which can teach us a valuable lesson.
In order to influence someone else, you must not only talk the talk, but also walk the walk. You can`t lecture about yiras Shamayim or diligence in limud haTorah if you yourself are lacking in these areas. In order for a rav, educator, or father to be successful in imparting words of Torah or a mehalech hachaim (path of life), he himself must first acquire the lessons and way of life he is discussing. Only then will his words be absorbed in his students’ hearts and will his efforts prove effective. However, without personal work on the part of the educator, the students will take note of his hypocrisy and act in the same way.
HaKadosh Baruch Hu, the Master Mechanech, is showing us how to talk and most effectively communicate with and teach other people — by first talking to and teaching yourself!June 2, 2020 6:04 pm at 6:04 pm #1867157Reb EliezerParticipant
I heard once, it says הליכות עולם לו – אל תקרא הליכות אלא הלכות the way a person behaves is suppose to teach halachas.
Reb Moshe said ושננתם אתם should be read veshunantom atem. You must first learn yourself before you can make your child learn.
The Binah Leitim when he gave a darosha, said that I am saying it to myself.June 2, 2020 7:19 pm at 7:19 pm #1867171Reb EliezerParticipant
It says הוכיח תוכח maybe first, apply to yourself קשוט עצמך then others ואחר כך קשוט אחרים. Once you did that, then we can apply it to others multiple times if they don’t listen.June 2, 2020 7:22 pm at 7:22 pm #1867187abukspanParticipant
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