29 Kislev 5782 / Friday, December 03, 2021 | Torah Reading: Mikeitz
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HomeFoundations of JudaismJewish Daily Life and HalachaDon't Be an Ingrate
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Don't Be an Ingrate    

Don't Be an Ingrate

Denying the good done to you, and repaying their good with evil, is absolute wickedness. Instead, love everyone and avoid this terrible mistake, which is easy to fall into…


Watch this short clip from Rabbi Arush: The Good Life.



Let’s look deeper into the rebellion of Korach, and its history.  


First, Miriam speaks lashon hara (evil speech) against Moshe Rabbeinu and is punished. This lesson is so crucially important, that we are commanded to remember what happened to Miriam every single day of our lives! 


However, the Jewish people don’t learn the lesson, and in the next Torah portion, they speak lashon hara against the Land of Israel. They are punished with death and wandering in the desert for 40 years. 


Next, in the portion of Korach, the Jewish people still don’t learn and fight against the leadership of Moshe Rabbeinu 


G-d understands that people have all sorts of bodily lusts and desires, and that they are hard for us to overcome. But a lack of appreciation for someone who has done good for you – that is absolute evil. 



Korach succeeded to get everyone on his side! All of the Roshei Yeshiva of the time, the great scholars, went with Korach! And of course the simple people went after them… 


Really, it’s a wonder. When one person is wise and the other is also wise, so then it’s a question who is wiser. We can nitpick over details and each have our own opinion. But here, the situation is totally black and white. It isn’t that Korach knew a lot of Torah, and Moses also, and who is better to lead the people? Not at all.  


Everything we have is from Moshe Rabbeinu! We received everything from him! Everything we know, he taught us. All the miracles, Hashem did them through Moses. It was undeniable that Hashem chose Him to lead the people. 


Therefore, it’s a real question: “How is it even possible that when the situation is so black and white, so obvious, that people went against Moshe Rabbeinu?! What is going on?” The answer is simple: They didn’t appreciate Moshe! What an incredible lack of appreciation for Moshe Rabbeinu, who had done such miracles for the Jewish people and worked so hard for them with incredible self-sacrifice! 


Here is the real bombshell. What is Moshe’s response? Moshe doesn’t defend himself, he doesn’t explain, he doesn’t throw the truth in everyone’s face. He simply falls on his face, silent.  


How is it possible? Moshe who prays for the Jewish people and saves them after the Sin of the Golden Calf, and again after the Sin of the Spies, and over and over cancels harsh decrees on them. Moshe who knows not to give up praying until Hashem orders him to stop in order to come into the Land of Israel. Moshe knows to never give up on the power of prayer, no matter what. Suddenly, he doesn’t even pray! What, he doesn’t have what to say to Hashem now? 


No, Moshe has NOTHING to say to Hashem now – because there is nothing to say. Once you are talking about denying the good someone has done to you, you are dealing with total wickedness – Moshe knew that he could say nothing to Hashem. There was no way to judge them favorably, and no way to pray for them. 


I repeat again: Hashem understands that He created humans with strong lusts and desires that sometimes overcome us. Even fear is understandable, such as when the spies terrified the Jews with their report of the land. Every other sin can be explained away, “Listen, they have an Evil Inclination that overcame them. They should just be pitied, not punished…”  


But denying the good that someone has done for you? That is absolute evil. Even if someone did something good for me just once, I would never fight against him! He did good for me – I have to appreciate that! I will only pray for him and bless him with every good until the end of my days, because one time he did something good for me. Once! 


Here, we have this concept to the extreme. Moshe did not do one, two, three or even ten good things for the Jewish people. What did he NOT do for the Jews?! And everything that the Jews had, was in HIS merit! Even what Korach knew – was because of Moshe! They are simply not on par – not comparable whatsoever.  


Hence, for the Jewish people to not recognize how much Moshe had given them and be willing to even consider fighting against someone who had done EVERYTHING for them – that is simply unforgiveable.  


Let’s say a simple Jew in the desert did not understand Moshe’s wisdom compared to Korach. He wasn’t so wise as to understand on his own who was fit to lead the nation. He still should have said: “Listen, I really don’t know who is really wiser. It could be that Korach is better. But Moshe has done so much for me, I owe my life to him. I just can’t go against him, it’s not right to do that in return to someone who has done so much for me. Sorry, I just can’t do it. I’m staying out of this.”  


That would be simple intellectual honesty! And even this most basic level, the Jewish people didn’t have. 


The Critical Lesson for Today


We need to appreciate everything that everyone does for us. Don’t be an ingrate!  


What do we lack? Only “I love everyone.” Only to make peace our first priority! Especially for all those who have done good for us. Even once, let alone day in and day out. We have to live this truth!  


Everything is ready for the Redemption. We all only have to love each other and pray for each other.  



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