Erev Shabbos Parashas Bamidbar 5774

Dear Parents,

We began our week with a very special event in the lives of our children – the visit of the Rishon L’Tzion, Chacham HaRav Yitzchak Yosef, Shlita, to our Yeshiva. Anytime one is in the presence of a great Gaon and Tzaddik the opportunity to bring greater Bracha, blessings, into one’s life is enhanced. All of us, adults and children alike, sensed the extra Bracha that the Rav brought to us, and we were inspired.

Beyond blessings verbally expressed by a Tzaddik, there is another dimension of Bracha, which is illustrated by the following story. One afternoon, a Rebbi in Yeshiva Kol Torah in Yerusholayim informed his `boss’, the Rosh HaYeshiva Rav Shlomo Zalman Auerbach zt’l, that he needed to leave a bit early to check out an apartment his family was planning on moving into. Rav Auerbach insisted on coming along. When they arrived, Rav Auerbach inquired about each room and what it would be used for. The Rebbi was astounded that the Rosh HaYeshiva, to whom every moment was precious, took so much time and was so concerned about the apartment. He finally asked Rav Auerbach: Why did the Rosh Yeshiva insist on coming with me? Rav Auerbach answered with his inimitable smile – “I wanted to place an Ayin Tova (lit. – good eye) on your home.” (Reflections of the Maggid pps. 86-89)

We see this idea from Moshe Rabbeinu in this week’s Parsha. When conducting the census of the Jewish People, the Ramban (Bamidbar 1:45) describes how Moshe & Aharon greeted and counted every person individually, rather than just getting a headcount from the head of the family. One reason for this seemingly cumbersome and time-consuming method, says the Ramban, is Ki Yaseemu Aleihem Aynam L’Tova – in order that they place their eyes upon them for good. For a tzadik to gaze with favor upon a person or place is to bestow blessing.

We all know of Ayin Hora, and how potentially destructive looking upon others’ good fortune with jealousy can be. But how many of us know of Ayin Tova, of looking for the good, on only wishing good for others? Chazal tell us it is easier to go to a Shiva house and feel genuine compassion for mourners’ misfortune, than to go to a wedding and feel sincere joy for the Baalei Simcha (celebrants) when we have pangs of envy in our hearts.

If only we can be aware of, and help inculcate in our children the concept of Ayin Tova and bring it alive– how to look upon others and their good fortune and feel the desire to send waves of blessing upon them.

While we desire and appreciate basking in the presence of the greatest of our people, our true growth in Avodas Hashem, in being a growing, faithful Jew, is to work on ourselves and our children. If only we can see the good and use those same eyes that see good, to be the conduit for blessing to be visited upon all those around us. One does not need to be a recognized tzaddik, to practice a bit of tzidkus (righteousness) in his or her life. May we take inspiration from Chacham Harav Yosef’s presence and put it into practice in our own lives.

With best wishes for a Shabbos of Blessing,

Rabbi Kalman Baumann

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