11 Kislev 5779 / Monday, November 19, 2018 | Torah Reading: Vayishlach
 
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Family Focus: Dignity    

Family Focus: Dignity



The Kossover Rebbe used to say: "Some folks dread the slightest chance of eating a tiny worm egg, but they have no problem in swallowing another human alive…"

 



Human dignity should be in our focus always. People asked the Chazon Ish: "What is the pinnacle of spiritual levels that a person can reach in this world?" He answered, "to traverse one's seventy years on earth without harming a single person". The first priority in harm prevention is being careful not to hurt one's spouse and children. One's child is the Almighty's creation as well as one's spouse. No one has the right to hurt them.

 

Judaism focuses on the relations between man and fellow human. It cherishes peace and encourages a man to honor and respect his wife. He therefore should read the book Garden of Peace from cover to cover and learn how to honor his wife and avoid causing her sorrow. The wife should study the book Women's Wisdom and learn how to properly honor her husband. Both parents should study the book The Garden of Education to learn what positive childrearing is. Many people make terrible mistakes with their children, for the evil inclination tells a person that it's okay to torment a child in order to educate him. That is a miserably unfortunate falsehood.

 

Never torment or cause sorrow to a child. Don't hit. Some parents destroy their children's lives! True, if you suffer from your children and they don't heed you, be patient and pray on their behalf. Don't criticize them and don't chastise them; certainly, don't disparage and humiliate them. When parents do so, they weaken the children’s spirit, robbing them of the tools they need to cope, and much more to succeed in life. Parents must educate in a productive and positive manner. This is the pinnacle that parents – as a people – can reach, when they can say, "Today, I didn't cause harm or sorrow to anyone, including my own children."

 

We must be united like one person with one heart. The only way to accomplish this is through emuna. Once everyone attains true emuna, we'll be ready and willing to help one another, have compassion for each other, give in to each other, and refrain from ever raising our voices at anyone.

 

One must avoid disparaging even an inanimate object like a stone. The Midrash elaborates on a passage that commands the priests to be properly clad at the holy altar: "The Cohanim (priests) must not disrespect the stones of the altar. If one must respect stones, which have no intellect or ability to discern good from bad, then one must certainly exercise great care in preserving the dignity of a fellow human."

 

The Kossover Rebbe used to say: "There are people who dread the slightest chance of eating a tiny worm egg, but they have no problem in swallowing another human alive and sucking his blood." Rebbe Chaim of Zanz would also say, "The Torah forbids eating the blood of an animal or fowl; all the more so, it forbids consuming the blood of a human…"

 

First, to build good character a person must stop forbidden behavior such as slander and evil speech. When a person sees himself as part of society – and not as a lone egoist – he connects with other souls and begins to connect with Torah. He cannot have a connection with Torah if he lacks connection with other souls, for when the Torah was given at Mount Sinai, the souls of the entire Jewish People were like one nation with one heart. This beautiful unity is the prerequisite for attaining emuna, as well as enhancing the spiritual cognizance in the world that there is nothing but Hashem.





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