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GOOD MORNING! In this week's Torah portion we have a rebellion, Korach's rebellion against Moshe, started ostensibly because of principle. It might better be described as a rebellion based on ego, but couched in the disguise of principle. It is amazing how many friendships, marriages, partnerships are destroyed by ego disguised as principle!
How many times have you heard: "I can't give in. It's not because I don't want peace. It's the principle of the matter." "My ego isn't involved at all. I have to teach this person a lesson." "For my sake, I would just let it go. But if I don't put my foot down, this person won't treat others with respect." And ... "I have a principle. I don't forgive someone unless he apologizes in a formal matter. Just saying, 'I'm sorry,' isn't sufficient for me."
Lucky for us, Rabbi Zelig Pliskin has written a book entitled Harmony with Others: Preventing and Resolving Quarrels -Formulas, Stories and Insights. In this book Rabbi Pliskin offers a practical guide to finding your way out of minor quarrels and major disagreements. He illuminates the root causes for our behavior and demonstrates how to deal with them in order to bring harmony with others.
Chapters include: "What's the Best Option for Dealing with This?" "Be Concise and Focus on Your Outcome." "King Solomon's Wise Formula." "Tone of Voice." "Tone Down Rhetoric." "Mental Rehearsals." "Let the Other Person Express His Feelings" "What Are the Real Issues?" "The Greatness of Going Against Your Feelings."
What does Rabbi Pliskin answer to the person who puts principle above all else? Here's an excerpt from Chapter 68, "It's the Principle":
"Principles and values are very important. But the principle of "Loving peace and pursuing peace," is a higher principle than most. At times, our yetzer hara (evil inclination) appears in the form of righteousness. We might claim our ego isn't involved. We need to teach someone a lesson. But if someone didn't speak to us with respect or didn't treat us in the way we want to be treated, we can assume that our ego is involved.
"We might have a true dilemma: 'What is the right thing for me to do in this particular instance? Objectively speaking, should I give in or not? Should I forgive or not?' Then we should consult a Torah scholar to clarify the right thing for us to do. An objective wise person will give us a more accurate distinction between what is really principle and what is really ego.
"When in doubt: Go for peace! There is a higher probability that the principle of peace will elevate you.
"An illustration: I met an elderly, joyful person who consistently ignored slights and avoid petty arguments.
" 'It's not right for others to treat you without the highest respect,' someone said to him. 'Why don't you stand up for the principle that you should be treated with respect?'
"My most important principle is that I should treat other people with respect. I hope that others will learn from my example. Another principle is that I want to live a joyful life. Demanding that others treat me with respect won't really get me true respect, but it will actually cause me distress, and a lack of joy. I prefer to work on real principles and on ego masquerading as principles."
If you would like to save a friendship, a marriage, a relationship - then I highly recommend Harmony with Others. It is available for $9.99 at your local Jewish book store, by calling toll-free to 877-758-3242 or at judaicaenterprises.com. You'll probably want to buy 2 copies - one for yourself and one for the other guy!
Torah Portion of the Week
There are two rebellions this week. First, Korach, a Levite who was passed over for the leadership of his tribe, challenges Moshe over the position of High Priest. No good rebellion can be "sold" as a means for personal gain, so Korach convinces 250 men of renown that they must stand up for a matter of principle - that each and every one of them has the right to the office of High Priest (which Moshe had announced that God had already designated his brother Aharon to serve).
Fascinatingly, all 250 followers of Korach accept Moshe's challenge to bring an offering of incense to see who God will choose to fill the one position. This meant that every man figured he would be the one out of 250 to not only be chosen, but to survive the ordeal. Moshe announces that if the earth splits and swallows up the rebels it is a sign that he (Moshe) is acting on God's authority. And thus it happened!
The next day the entire Israelite community rises in a second rebellion and complains to Moshe, "You have killed God's people!" The Almighty brings a plague which kills 14,700 people and only stops when Aharon offers an incense offering.
To settle the question once and for all, Moshe has the head of each tribe bring a staff with his name on it. The next morning only Aharon's staff had blossomed and brought forth almonds. The people were shown this sign. Aharon's staff was placed in front of the curtain of the ark as testimony for all time.
based on Growth Through Torah by Rabbi Zelig Pliskin
The Torah states:
"There shall not be like Korach and his congregation." (Numbers 17:5)
This verse is a source of the prohibition against being involved in quarrels. What insight does this verse give us into the nature of quarrels?
Rabbi Chaim Shmuelevitz, the former head of the Mir Yeshiva in Jerusalem, commented that the verse can be understood that "There will not be other quarrels like that of Korach and his followers." By the argument with Korach, Moshe was 100% right and Korach was 100% wrong. In every other argument, even if one side is more correct than the other, both sides are making some mistakes.
Rather than blame the other person, it is more productive for both sides to ask themselves what they did to contribute to the quarrel. When you stop blaming and condemning the other party, you will be calm enough to work out peaceful solutions.
CANDLE LIGHTING - June 18:
(or Go to http://www.aish.com/candlelighting)
Guatemala 6:13 Hong Kong 6:50 Honolulu 6:56
J'Burg 5:06 London 9:00 Los Angeles 7:49
Melbourne 4:47 Miami 7:55 Moscow 8:58
New York 8:11 Singapore 6:54
QUOTE OF THE WEEK:
If you give everyone a piece of your mind,
you have no peace of mind.
In Loving Memory of