Skip to main content

Thought for the Day: Making Peace Between Two Jews

Today is the first day of Rosh Chodesh Elul, making it also the last day of Av.  That makes this a great time for a sharp message that is important to hear as we enter into Elul z'man and prepare for the Days of Awe.

Chazal tell us that bringing peace to two Jews who are fighting is one of the mitzvos from which one enjoys the fruit in this world while the principle remains for him in olam haba.  This is for two reasons.  First, "banim atem la'shem" -- every Jew is a child of HaShem.  How miserable is it when your children are fighting?  There are very few pains that hurt like having two children who are so upset with each other that they can't speak civilly to each other.  But there is a deeper reason, the Chovos Levavos says that no one can hurt you nor help you as much as a mustard seed's worth unless HaShem wants it that way.  Any insult or hurt from another person is only a message from HaShem.  Don't shoot the messenger.

Hillel says that the whole Torah is founded on "don't do to your friend what you hate to have done to yourself".  None of us likes to be misunderstood, and we hate when that misunderstanding is used against us.  And we really hate when we we've had a bad day or been insensitive and the person we've hurt keeps it going.  We are usually so embarrassed by our behavior we just hope they won't notice (or at least pretend not to notice).  So, according to Hillel, the whole Torah is founded on us not doing those things.

Elul is upon us.  That's frightening.  How are we going to even walk into Shul on Rosh HaShana, let alone tell HaShem how we deserve another year of life after the great job we did last year.  Making up with a Jew who has hurt our feelings is a great way to soften the judgement.

Remember:  If you have a problem with another frum Jew, you have a problem with G-d  You don't need that.


Popular posts from this blog

Thought for the Day: Battling the Evil Inclination on all Fronts

Yom Kippur.  When I was growing up, there were three annual events that marked the Jewish calendar: eating matzos on Passover, lighting candles on Chanuka, and  fasting on Yom Kippur.  Major news organizations around the world report on the "surreal" and "eerie" quiet of the streets in even the most secular neighborhoods of Israel.  Yom Kippur.

As you know, I am observant of Jewish law.  Some have even called me "ultra orthodox" (not in a kind way).  Given that, I have a question.  How likely do you think that I would be tempted to eat on Yom Kippur, that most holy day of the year?  Let's make the scale zero to ten, where zero is "as likely as driving through McDonald's on Shabbos and ordering a Big Mac with extra cheese." and ten is "as likely as breathing regularly".  Take your time.  If you answered "zero"; thank you, but -- sadly and penitently -- no.  The answer is more like nine; I'd like to say lower, but i…

Thought for the Day: Sometimes a Food Loses Its Identity When It Loses Its Bracha; Sometimes It Doesn't

Let's start with a question: Why are We Allowed to Drink Coffee and Whiskey Made by Non-Jews?  Before you ask,"Why would I think that I shouldn't be able to drink whiskey and coffee made by non-Jews?", I'll tell you. Simple, we all know that Chazal made a decree -- known as בישול עכו''ם/bishul akim -- that particular foods cooked by non-Jews are forbidden.  There are basically two criteria that determines if a dish falls into this category:
Is not consumed raw.Fit for a royal banquet. Cooked carrots, therefore, are not a problem since they can be eaten raw (I actually prefer them that way).  Baked beans are find because the are not prestigious enough.  (For great synopsis of the laws, see the article on the Star-K site, FOOD FIT FOR A KING, by Rabbi Moshe Heinemann, shlita.)  There are lots of cool questions and details (baked potatoes are prestigious, does that make even potato chips and issue?) which are for another time.  Clearly, though, both coffee an…

Thought for the Day: Coming Into This World for Torah, Avodah, and Acts of Loving Kindness

This TftD is so self-serving that I should be embarrassed.  But I am not... talking about grandchildren is always off budget.  I have, bli ayin hara, a beautiful new grandson; born at 6:11 PM CDT last Friday night.  The secular (aka -- by me, anyway -- slave) date is October 20, 2017 CE.  The Hebrew (aka Real) date is certainly Rosh Chodesh חשון/Cheshvan and certainly in the year 5778 since Creation.  The date, you ask... good question!

Sundown on Friday night was 6:01 PM CDT, which means he was born either at the end of the last day of תשרי or the beginning of the first day of Cheshvan; a period know as בין השמשות/twilight.  What's the big deal, you ask... I am so glad you asked.  We all deal quite handily with בין השמשות every week and every holiday; we're just stringent.  We start Shabbos and the first day of Yom Tov before בין השמשות; that is, before sundown.  Likewise, we end Shabbos and the first day of Yom Tov after בין השמשות; some 42, 50, 60, or 72 minutes after sundo…