Rabbi Aaron Greenberg

JLIC Rabbi in Toronto


“No such thing as deaf ears “

In memory of my father Refoel Yechiel Meir Shlomo ben Chaim Tzvi z”l
whose yerzheit is the 11th of Tammuz
This week’s Parsha is not the first time that Moshe is instructed to draw water for Bnei Yisrael. Earlier on in the Torah, in Parshat Beshalach, Hashem instructs  Moshe to hit the rock (Exodus 17.6). The question that arises is why in this week’s parsha is Moshe asked to speak to (or speak about) the rock, before it brings forth water and nourishes the people? After all, isn’t it no less of a miracle if a rock produces water by having  been hit versus spoken to?
Rav Moshe Feinstein, z”l, in his Darash Moshe (a series of drashot that were published posthumously) explains that Hashem wanted to teach Moshe a valuable educational message. One would assume that there is no benefit to speak to a rock, an  inanimate object, so why not just hit the rock? After all, it accomplishes that same desired result!  Rav Moshe explains that while this might seem to make a sense on the surface, it is not educationally sound. A person should not erroneously assume that there is no need to educate or instruct others when ‘my words will fall onto deaf ears. What benefit is there to instruct when the words are fleeting?’ Rav Moshe explains  that a person should not become despondent but rather always make a valiant attempt  to educate , to guide and advise others , for who knows what benefit in the long run it might have? If the rock, a lifeless object gives forth water, how much more so could the people, Bnei Yisroel, contribute to the world as they heed the words of the Almighty?

As parents, educators and leaders, we should never feel that our words do not have impact and there is no point making an effort. Rather we  should feel confident and have faith that those that need to listen and be attentive will do so and pay heed. If we have faith in our children, students and community and trust in their goodness and openness to listen,  they will rise to our expectations and exceed their own expectations.

May we all receive the bracha, the blessing, from Hashem and be able to guide those who look up to us to enhance their actions to serve Hashem better and may we all become better people each and every day.

comments: rabbigreenberg@jliccanada.com