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The Light Slap

Speak to the Kohanim, the sons of Aaron, and say to them (21:1)

"Speak… and say to them" - warn the elders to warn the youngsters

- Talmud, Yevamot 114a (cited as a biblical source for the concept of education)

Rabbi Yosef Yitzchok of Lubavitch told:

Once, when I was about six years old, my father called me to his room and told me to make the blessing on the tzitzis. I replied that I had already made the blessing earlier in the day. "Nevertheless, say the blessing," said father. I refused.

Father slapped me lightly - this was the only slap I ever received from him - and said: "When I tell you to do something, you must obey." Tearfully, I burst out: "If one must recite the blessing for G-d, then I have already done so; and if one must recite the blessing because of yourcommand… well…"

Father replied: "One must recite the blessing for G-d. But every father has been entrusted with the task to educate his children, and he must be obeyed."



Grounded

Any man from the house of Israel… who shall offer an offering to G-d… an animal that has a blemish you shall not offer, for it will not be found desirable… (22:18- 20)

While in the city of Slutzk, Rabbi Israel Baal Shem Tov once passed a study hall. The large room was filled with talmudic scholars, all studying with great fervor and gusto. "This room is filled to capacity with Torah," said the Baal Shem Tov. "In fact, it is so full that I cannot enter - there is no room left even to squeeze myself in."

The Baal Shem Tov later explained his remark: "The Zohartells us that the love and awe of G-d are the two wings of the mitzvah, the means by which we imbue our every positive act with the ability to 'fly' heavenward and be received as a desirable offering to G-d. One may perform a mitzvahin the most technically impeccable manner, so that the 'body' of the deed is fully developed; but if it is not motivated by and permeated with the love and awe of G-d, it lacks the two limbs needed to carry it aloft. So it remains very much below and part of the person's pedestrian, self-bound existence."

 

 


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