Friday, December 23, 2016

Mussar Drosha: Vayeishev

Mussar Drosha: Vayeishev:

This week’s parsha is Vayeishev, and it talks a lot about the Sons of Yaakov Avinu (especially Yosef HaTzadik).  Now, certain things happened, he told his brothers his dreams, etc. and the brothers began to hate him. (The various commentators discuss the reasons behind the hate, but of course we know that the brothers could not have had terrible intentions).   


Pretty soon, they planned to kill him. (Though, Baruch Hashem, they did not go through with it).  But there is a beautiful Chassidishe Vort that says that this teaches us the way of hatred: It basically always leads to evil and bad things.  The brothers hated Yosef HaTzadik, and it led to them wanting to kill him![1]  Obviously, hatred is a very bad thing!   


And now, with Hashem’s Help, let us go a little deeper into the concept of hatred and how to prevent it:  The Torah HaKedosha tells us in Parshas Kedoshim: “You shall not hate your brother in your heart.” So firstly, we see that to not hate another Jew is a Commandment from Hashem Himself.  It is no less of a Commandment than any of the other ones.  Meaning that violating it is just as bad as eating non-Kosher food or anything like that!  Think about that…...  


And hatred, of course, causes great destruction and punishments as well:  Says Gemara Yoma 9b: “Why was the Second Beis HaMikdash destroyed?  Because of Sinas Chinam (baseless hatred of one Jew for another).” The Holy Beis HaMikdash was destroyed and we were sent into Exile because of baseless hatred!  Another thing to think about…..  


And, unfortunately, Rachmana LiTzlan, when Jews dislike each other, it ruins the Achdus of the Jewish People!  But what, in the first place, causes the dislike and hate between Jews that we have been discussing?   


Well, of course there are individual reasons, but there are also some big reasons that are very common:  For example, some people think that others aren’t frum enough, others the opposite; and some just don’t get along with others because they hold different minhagim than them, so they think that the others are wrong.   


First, if you are that frum, then you would never treat others badly because you think that they aren’t frum enough.  That will only hurt, and it will make the “less frum” people mad at “more frum” people!  You would then be ruining the Achdus of Klal Yisrael, and causing the second thing I mentioned before to happen.  


The third thing that I mentioned is also extremely absurd.  You would stay away from people just because they keep different minhagim than you, and you think that they are wrong?  How do you know?  Even if you think that they are doing something wrong, does that give you the excuse to ruin the Achdus or dislike them, Chas V’Shalom?  The other person might be doing something bad, but if you, Chas V’Shalom cause animosity, then you are for sure doing a bad thing!  And a certainty outweighs a doubt, as the Alter of Kelm (HaRav Simcha Zissel Ziv zt”l) said.[2]   


The problem, I believe, with the Achdus of the Jewish People, is that we think about ourselves too much.  If we were thinking about what is right, we would certainly not cause trouble between Jews, as we know that that is very wrong.  But when we think about ourselves, then we look at if the person is doing something that we don’t approve of.  Think about what I just said. That we don’t approve of what they are doing.  It might be something that helps with their Avodas Hashem, but no!  Just because we don’t like it, it is bad.  Does this make any sense?  We are the bad one in this case.  And every single Jew must try hard not to cause any trouble in Klal Yisrael.  


Remember:  One of the Mitzvos in the parsha of Kedoshim is “Vi’ahavta l'reiacha kamocha”, which means to love every Jew as ourselves.  As the Baal Shem Tov zt”l, Rebbe Avraham Yehoshua Heschel of Kopitchinitz zt”l and other greats teach, loving every Jew does not apply only to Jew’s like Gedolim and Rebbes whom it is easy to love; but to ones whom it is hard to love, as well – such as ones who we consider “less frum”, or “too frum”, etc.[3]  This is a Commandment just like the others.  We must actually work to love every Jew, because that is Hashem’s Will.   


But for whatever reason you might feel to hate another Jew, remember what we have discussed and try to rid yourself of that feeling.  It is not you wanting to hate them - it is your Yetzer Hara. And, like many greats have discussed and discuss, Hashem is our Father, and we are His Children. Does a father like when his sons fight or dislike each other?  Of course not!  And so too with Hashem.  He does not want us to fight, Chas V’Shalom; but rather, to get along.   


Remember that you can always control what you do.  And it is up to you to dislike, Chas V’Shalom, or like and love other Jews.  And, with Hashem’s Help, we must make the right choice; loving them.  Find ways!  Even if others dislike you, Chas V’Shalom, you can still love them! And realize that it is so beloved to Hashem when you try to love your fellow Jews (and people in general) and treat them well.   


Unfortunately, though, the Achdus of the Jewish People is suffering, and there is much hatred between Jews.  But if we always remember the things we have been discussing, then, with Hashem’s Help, we can help to rectify all the hatred and strife.  And by loving others and treating them well no matter what, they will likely end up coming to love us, and the cycle repeats itself!  Then, with Hashem’s Help, the Jewish People will become one!  


Hate (the bad kind) brings bad.  But love (the good kind) brings good.  May Hashem help every single Jew to love each other as required and to not, Chas V’Shalom, hate each other. And in the merit of being one as a People, Hashem will send us Mashiach very, very speedily.  May He do so, Amein vi’Amein, so may it be His Will. 


Have a wonderful Shabbos full of Kedusha, and a very Freilichen Chanukah everyone!!



1.      From Sefer Peninei HaTorah.  Told over by HaRav Elyakim Rosenblatt shlita. 

2.      From Sparks of Mussar (original - HaMe'oros HaGedolim).  By HaRav Chaim Ephraim Zaitchik zt"l.  Feldheim Publications Ltd.

3.     From The Stone Edition Chumash:  By HaRav Nosson Scherman shlita.  Artscroll/Mesorah Publications Ltd.


  1. "But there is a beautiful Chassidishe Vort that says that this teaches us the way of hatred: It basically always leads to evil and bad things. The brothers hated Yosef HaTzadik, and it led to them wanting to kill him![1]"

    See same/similar vort in Rashi, citing Chazal, on דברים יט יא.

    Chassidim didn't invent the wheel.

  2. True. But this was on this parsha....

    Freilichen Chanukah!