Sign In Forgot Password

Parshas Vayikra/Zachor - Where Past, Present & Future Meet                           7 Adar II 5779

03/14/19 09:38:43


One of Rabbi Wein’s classic statements with regard to raising children is “God punishes children by making them parents”. My Rosh Yeshiva has keen insight into relationships - family, business, and, in particular, child rearing. His consistent focus has always been to create a ‘mensch’, who by definition would be a Ben Torah but the contrary was not always the case. Rabbi Wein witnessed at least two, sometimes three generations, commenting on the pattern that developed from father to son, and from son to his son, each behaving and responding in a certain way when they were young, and all sharing the same similarities when they grew older.

I believe we all, at least one time in our childhood, made the cavalier statement, “When I have kids ,I’ll never do this or that!”. Or…“I’ll never do what my parents did to me to my kids.” Of course not! But, lo and behold, just one generation later we hear parents who as children resented these statements when their parents said them repeating the exact same things. One of my own children recently remarked, “Did I act like so and so when I was his/her age?” The child is acting out in a certain way, and the parents tend to treat their children the way they were treated when they were that age. There is also the other dimension of how parents make certain decisions based upon information only they understand. The children may know what is happening, but don’t really understand why. Children do not fathom that they have not got the right to know why their parents treat one child differently from their siblings. It’s important that parents explain to their children that they don’t need to know every reason for a parent’s responses to specific behaviors. There is no entitlement for a child (of a certain age, of course) to know everything. Answering a questioning child on why, why, why, may be replied with because, because, or because.

Nevertheless, a good parent will add a statement such as, “One day you will understand,” or “Right now you may not understand but one day you will.” This is a legitimate response to an inquisitive child. With time and patience, the cycle of children becoming parents and raising them as they were raised is then remembered. As the old saying goes, ‘What goes around comes around’ works and applies for good or poor disciplining or non-disciplining, spoiling or not spoiling. That which remains is the ability for children to accept that one day they will understand and appreciate how their parents raised them. This notion is one of the underpinnings of the entire story of Purim found in the Megillas Esther.

Chaza”l, the Rabbi’s of blessed memory, say that the recipient of a miracle does not recognize the miracle as it unfolds. There is no question that the amazing, wonderous miracles that are witnessed and seen by all, such as the splitting of the sea, is renowned by all. But the hidden miracles are not noticed and appreciated as miracles until later in the future. For example; there is no doubt that the killing of Vashti by King Achashveirosh would be the preparation to all that would follow. Similarly, three years later Esther is selected to be the next queen and taken to the king’s palace. No one had a clue as to these unfolding events. A few days later, a plot of two of the king’s chamberlains to assassinate Achashveirosh was discovered by Mordechai and told to Esther in the name of Mordechai. These are seemingly random occurrences which initially seem to have no major significance. Moreover, Haman is elevated to be the second highest official in the country. Who would have thought a Jew-hater’s rise to power would be something that would end well! The Chasam Sofer remarks that only at the end, when the major miracle that everyone witnessed, would all understand that the killing of Vashti was ‘like’ a Krias Yam Suf. This is because the recipient of the miracles doesn’t have the angle in their vision to see and appreciate the miracle of the One who performs it. This concept is echoed in the words of Dovid HaMelech in Tehilim 136:4 “L’Osei Niflaos Gedolos L’Vado, Ki L’Olam Chasdo”: “He who does great wonders, alone, for His kindliness endures forever”. Only Hashem Himself who performs all of the miracles knows; no man can grasp the miracles as they occur. Nevertheless, it’s a Mitzva and incumbent upon every man in the latter stages of his life to discern all the good Hashem has done for him from beginning to end. Everyone should recognize and perceive how the events in his or her life were a perfectly-sewn tapestry, taking care to tell it over to their children and grandchildren. Describing and telling over the miracles of one’s life to their children and grandchildren is a crucially critical component of Chinuch/education. The lesson to be learned by the child and grandchild is that they, too, should see and recognize the independent events as having a purpose and pattern that Hashem has performed for them.

The Chasam Sofer writes there is a remez or hint of this Parshas Ki Sisa describing Moshe meeting God on Har Sinai. The verse states “V’Raeesa Es Achorai, Upanai Lo Yeiraoo”: “And he saw Him from behind, but his face from the front he did not see”. At the time something occurs in the world and people are perplexed and ask: ‘Why did God do this or that?’ Only after some time are they able to see and understand retroactively that all these seemingly small, insignificant events are a preparation for Hashem to perform the big miracle.

A person who reviews the events and recognizes the master plan of Hashem strengthens his Emunah/belief in Hashem and receives great reward. How much more so the person who is able to have the Emunah as the questionable events are taking place. A person receives the greatest reward for having Emunah by the mere fact that he/she can identify the seemingly negative or benign occurrence and interpret it as the hand of the Almighty. We might ask God, why, why, why and need to answer the question ourselves because, because, because. A child does not have the intellectual capacity or brain development to fully appreciate a parent’s decision involving the child’s life. But we as adults should have the cerebral, intellectual ability to connect the dots, understanding that each event in our life is just one more step in the series of life that Hashem, our Father in Heaven is looking to set up the greatest miracle and ending for the Jewish people.

We should be Zocheh and merit to live through miracles of those of the time of Purim. Just as the result and the aftermath of Purim led the Jewish people to rebuild the second Temple, so too in our day and age we should recognize and witness the miraculous events of our time to ultimately see the rebuilding of the Bayis Shlishi, the third Temple speedily in our day.


Ah Gut Shabbos and Ah Freilichin Purim!

Rabbi Avraham Bogopulsky

Sun, May 24 2020 1 Sivan 5780