Search
  • Rav Moshe Weiss

Nahar U'Pashtei Parshas Lech Lecha

Updated: Nov 1, 2020

Respect

    Every child learns the episode of the “great” fight between the shepherds of Avraham Aveinu and those of Lot. They all come home sporting muzzles, explaining how Avraham Aveinu knew it was forbidden to steal, while Lot didn’t care. Some children even learn this story on a slightly deeper level, and are aware that the argument really hinged on whether or not Avraham Aveinu had rights to the entire land of Eretz Yisrael at that point in time. Whatever the case, this disagreement is what the Torah tells us ultimately caused Lot to remove himself from Avraham and his influence, a move which had drastic ramifications for Lot’s descendants from that point forward. It seems quite illogical to say that such a simple and basic disagreement should spiral into a separation that would change so many lives forever.    There is an interesting Midrash that perhaps sheds some light on what was truly going on here. The Midrash teaches us from this story that ein shalom yotzei mitoch merivah, peace cannot emanate from a fight. On the surface this Midrash seems puzzling. During a fight, there is by definition no peace, and after a fight dissipates, why, many times there is peace! What is the meaning, then, of this cryptic statement? The Midrash is teaching us that if the attitude surrounding the argument is hostile, peace can never triumph. If the parties involved in the disagreement are looking to find fault with one another; each party is seeking to convey a feeling of hostility towards the other, peace cannot prevail. Indeed, this relatively minor quibble between the shepherds did not need to evolve into a full blown argument that would change the course of history. The two groups could have acted with more respect, restraint, compassion; all these things could have kept the machlokes from erupting. If when Avraham’s shepherds saw Lot’s men allowing the animals to graze on other people’s fields, they had respectfully approached and asked them why this was permitted, the other shepherds would have calmly explained their position on the matter. At that point, the shepherds of Avraham could have respectfully presented their position, and even perhaps asked as a favor if Lot’s shepherds could place the muzzles on the livestock just this once, until they could ascertain who was correct. Ultimately, they would have peacefully brought the question before Avraham Avinu, who was their undisputed leader, and he would have explained their mistake to them. Lot’s men would have acquiesced, and the whole issue would have been over with. What was it then that led to the separation of Lot and Avraham? It was that the shepherds created a merivah, an atmosphere of disrespect, nitpicking, and hostility. When they saw Lot’s shepherds, Avaham’s men started their rebuke by calling them “thieves!” And of course, Lot’s men yelled back, “How dare you call us thieves! This land is ours!” And so, the machlokes grew and grew, all because of the incorrect approach that the people took.    Let this be a harrowing lesson for all of us. Disagreements and arguments should never be expressed with hostility, personal insults, or disrespect. When people are accused, yelled at, or spoken down to, they lock into their opinions even more strongly, and the machlokes only gains momentum. When you express something to someone, even if they are one hundred percent wrong, it must be done with respect and humility. Nothing is to be gained by name-calling or accusing. When you talk with respect and dignity, you give the other person a chance to respect himself, and actually listen to what you have to say. A gut Shabbos! A Project of the YSI Alumni Association Written by R’ Moshe Weiss

Nahar U_Pashtei Lech Lecha 5781
.pdf
Download PDF • 69KB

12 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All

We are approaching our last weeks of the third cycle of divrei Torah. There is thought to switch to Pirkei Avos, depending on sponsorship. Thank you to all our faithful readers. Greatness Iced

We are approaching our last weeks of the third cycle of divrei Torah. There is thought to switch to Pirkei Avos, depending on sponsorship. Thank you to all our faithful readers. Ancient Stereot

We are approaching our last weeks of the third cycle of divrei Torah. There is thought to switch to Pirkei Avos, depending on sponsorship. Thank you to all our faithful readers. A Holy People L