Thursday, July 16, 2015

Thursday's Parsha Tidbits - Parshas Matos

Normally, the Thursday night parsha post on this blog slot contains a thought said over by R' Frand in his satellite shiur. Since the shiur is now on hiatus through Elul, I will be substituting with divrei torah found in other sources. This week I have attempted to summarize a vort from R' Mansour which can be found at As always, if the p'shat appears to be incorrect, it is a result of my efforts to convey the thought that I found in the sefer or shiur.

R' Mansour began the vort by recounting the conversation between Moshe and the tribes of Reuven, Gad and half the tribe of Menashe. During this conversation, the tribes offered to go into battle for 14 years to conquer the land of Israel, but at the same time they indicated that they wished to permanently settle on the east bank of the Jordan River. The Torah describes how the tribes wanted to build pens for their sheep and schools for the children and the subsequent conversation between Moshe and the tribes as to these issues.

R' Mansour asked - this is a great story/dialogue, but why is this important to us?

R' Mansour answered by quoting the sefer Kedushat Tzion who learns a parenting lesson from the conversation. 

He began by noting that the word "HaRaim" appears three times in Tanach. Once in connection with the Yam Suf where Moshe is told to raise his staff, once in connection with raising the shofar and once to raise themselves.

The Keushat Tzion states that if a parent gives the child a spoken mussar, he will not come to need the stick (belt/fist) to discipline the child. This is because the stick has a negative connotation and is extraordinary. He next quoted a pasuk from Mishlei wherein Shlomo HaMelech writes one who spares the rod hates his son. But the pasuk continues that the one who loves the child, gives him mussar. R' Mansour explains that if you don't love and teach the child you will come to use the stick and it will not be effective.

R' Mansour next quoted the Alshich who explains (based on Shema) that a person must first take the words of Hashem to heart and only then can teach the words to the children. This ties into the gemara which states that if a person does not take the mussar to heart he should not give mussar to others as it will be rejected.

R' Mansour also tied this thought into matan Torah. On the day that the Jews received the Torah, the shofar was sounding and the Jews were in such awe that their souls rose up and they needed to be resuscitated. The Torah writes that at the time, the Jews saw the sounds. But how can this be if words are not visible? The gemara explains that it was a miracle which we in this world cannot compare it with. But why did Hashem make this miracle? R' Mansour suggested that by giving us the Torah, Hashem have us a book of instruction as well. The lesson from this miracle is that when a person gives mussar to his child, the child must see the voices - meaning that the child will see that the parent is living the same concept. If the child is being told that he must learn or go to minyan, he must also see that the parent is doing the same. 

R' Mansour then returned to the Kedushat Tziyon and his explanation of the three pesukim. He stated that the word Haraim can mean raise or move away. When Moshe was told to raise the stick, the message was move away from raising the stick. So how should one teach the child? By raising the voice - speak to them and tell them what to do. But before doing so, the parent must raise himself up so that the child will see that you are embodying the aspects that you want the child to live by.

As the shiur was more than 50 minutes long there were many more important aspects that cannot be summarized here. While I have skipped much of the middle, here is the tie in with the first part of the vort.

Moshe told the Jews build for yourself "arim" for your children and fences for your sheep. He then says and what you say you will do, you must do. 

R' Mansour explained that the word arim can be seen as cities or as hitorrerut - raise yourself. The message was first raise yourself up and once you have done so, you can build fences for your pure sheep. But most important, whatever you say in mussar to your children, you must do. 

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