0 Posted by - July 6, 2016 - Bamidbar, Parsha


Parashat Hukat

I can’t stop listening to Avraham Fried’s new song. “There’s a place, in your heart, deep within, known as the Kodesh Hakodoshim. There’s an altar there, with a Heavenly fire burning; that’s why we’re always yearning, that’s why we’re all returning.”

I always had a hard time answering the question what business I am in. Not anymore. I am in the Kodesh Hakedoshim business. I don’t expect anything from other people; I have expectations only from myself. But, I believe in everyone and try to help rekindle that fire on their innermost altar, to keep the Jewish soul returning and yearning. I call it Frum-world Kiruv. Rekindling that fire, finding that place, in the heart, deep within. Something I learnt from Aharon.

In the Mishna in Avot, Hillel taught us to be one of Aharon’s disciples. In this week’s parasha, Aharon died, and all the people wept. Women included. Our Rabbis derive from this that Aharon was the master peacemaker. He had the secret recipe of making peace between man and woman. And this is Aharon’s secret recipe, consisting of four ingredients: אוהב שלום, רודף שלום, אוהב את הבריות, ומקרבן לתורה. Love peace, run after peace, love people, and bring them close to Torah.

Secret no. 1. “Love peace”. Defining terms is important. Speed = distance divided by time. Art = making something out of “nothing”. What is peace? The art of respecting and valuing people and their differences. To make peace, you need to value and respect the different opinions and lifestyles of the people in your life. Not necessarily because you accept their opinion, but because you value and accept the person who has the different opinion. Every fight has an element of sensitive self-esteem in it. People who love peace are people who love supporting the sensitive self-esteem in others. To get over a fight, one needs to put aside all of his own “self” and “ego” in difficult conversations, dealing with diversity objectively, and with ultimate respect to those with whom he disagrees. This is alluded to in the Mishna in Avot, for it says, ‘Be one of the students of Aharon’ … not Aharon Hakohen. This is because humility is a prerequisite for peace, and Aharon would hide his High Priesthood, behaving with humility while making peace. “My Kehuna [being a priest] does not mean I am in any way one-up from you.”

Opinions don’t need to pop egos. When a disagreement turns into a fight, it is because there is an inner need for one of the two parties to defend his/her existence and intrinsic value. Subconsciously, the disagreement caused the person who now faces opposition to feel as if not only his opinion is being opposed, but he himself, or she herself, is the object of opposition. Most people who are suffering in their Shalom Bayit suffer because of a double edged sword. Lack of communication skills and lack of mutual respect. These two are the greatest causes for all divorce cases. Just by communicating mutual respect, it is possible to diffuse most disagreements. Most differences can be solved just with the love for peace.

Secret 2. Run after Peace. To be one who makes peace, you need to go out of your comfort zone, and chase it. You need to run after it. You need to sweat for it. You need to chase after opportunities to support people’s egos, to look at a person’s strong points and praiseworthy characteristics. My wife heard from her Rebbetzin that parents mistakenly make reward chart systems in the areas where a child has weaknesses. Why not make reward systems where the child has strengths, and boost his ego by making it easy for him to succeed? Why not chase after a person’s self esteem, boosting up his ego, before it is weak and chases after you? If you are passive about making peace, it won’t last. Shalom “Bayit” means, if you want Shalom, you have to “buy it”. You need to pay the price, whatever it is, to boost the egos of those who are important to you.

Secret 3. Love people. We are in a generation the likes of which has never been before. The Millennials. A generation that prefers digital people over real people. I remember, years back, feeling insulted when I waited in line to speak to the manager of a store, but the manager was, instead, talking to a customer on the phone. People give higher importance to a person on the phone than to those who troubled themselves to come to speak in person. The person on the phone gets more attention than the important people in our lives waiting for us to address them, live. And now, in our generation, with the emails, WhatsApps, etc., obsession with digital media is just dizzying, bringing this disrespect to a new, much higher level.

We live in a generation that loves the people of the world as a whole; our generation is a very positive one, where, in general, we all want the world to be a better place and care about it.  We believe in that goal, but the level of communication on a personal level, has become mostly digital, with a lot of “digital or virtual relationships”, and very few genuine, real-life relationships. This love for ‘digital people’ has taken over love for real people.

It is hard to love people when you do not love yourself. It is hard to take out time for people, when you do not take out time for yourself. It is hard to respect people, when you do not respect yourself. Loving yourself and loving people is the only way you can really make peace. To have a relationship, you need to want a relationship. If you are too busy being busy, you may not be ready for a relationship. If your Shalom Bayit is down the tubes, it may be because you have lost your interest in loving people… and very possibly, because you have fallen in love with digital people, if that makes any sense.

Secret 4. Bring them close to Torah. Making peace, Shalom Bayit , diffusing arguments, does not necessarily need to be addressed as an intellectual problem, a problem in the mind; it can be seen as a problem of the emotions, the heart. I have a friend who has helped many couples. I asked him what his trick is. He said it is simple. Before asking how things are, he learns with the fighting or abused spouse the Sefer ‘Lev Eliyahu’, by Rabbi Eliyahu Lopian, a sefer that speaks to the heart. After learning for twenty- thirty minutes, he opens the discussion and addresses the issue. The heart is open, and it is much easier to change the way a person feels when the heart is open.

Torah gives purpose in life, restructures value systems, clears thoughts, and brings people closer to G-d. All of the above are of massive importance in a long-lasting marriage. A lot of disagreements can be solved by learning G-d’s ultimate view and having a Rabbi that gives direction and structure to life.

And there is a spin-off to the Mishnah. Learning Torah is not only an element in peacemaking. It is the ultimate cause.  The only way to bring someone close to Torah is through loving him. אוהב את הבריות ומקרבן לתורה Aharon loved people and brought them close to Torah. If you are trying to get someone to learn with techniques, but without love, you are barking up the wrong tree. By making someone feel good, by making someone feel loved, you rekindle his fire to want to learn Torah.

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