Productive Reflections

Dear Parents,

We read in the Torah this week, that prior to sending out the Meraglim, Moshe Rabbeinu changed Yehoshua’s name from Hoshea, by adding an extra “yud” (Bamidbar 13:16). Rashi explains that Moshe was praying for Yehoshua, his disciple, that he not be swept along with any potential negativity from the other spies.

…Moshe was praying for Yehoshua, his disciple…The Gur Aryeh (super-commentary on Rashi) asks why did Moshe pray more for Yehoshua than Calev, the other righteous spy?  He answers that it would be a major disgrace for Moshe, if his disciple Yehoshua behaved inappropriately.  People will say – if the student is acting in this fashion, it’s obvious that he learned such poor behavior from his Rebbi.

It is possible to ask on the Gur Aryeh – why does it concern Moshe what people will say?  Moshe is never concerned about his popularity or swayed by public opinion.  Shouldn’t he be more concerned about Yehoshua remaining faithful to Hashem than what the masses will say about their leader? Shouldn’t that be the reason for the Tefila?

Moshe is never concerned about his popularity or swayed by public opinion.Clearly, Moshe was not concerned about his own Kavod.  He had no need or desire to enjoy the good feeling of being well regarded by people.  Rather Moshe is teaching us how important it is that a Rebbi or leader be respected and be above reproach in order to be effective in his teachings. Once people put down and denigrate their Torah guide and mentor, they will never again be as receptive to his teachings and guidance.

As we come to the close of a school year filled with growth and accomplishments, it is appropriate to focus on the role of the Rebbi, Morah or teacher in helping our children be successful. Rather than dwelling on whatever shortcoming or mistakes may have occurred along the way in some instances, help your children recall their teacher in a positive light, to focus on the good and meaningful and fun things that took place during the year.

…help your children recall their teacher in a positive light…The herculean efforts our teachers invest in the children, the time at home preparing and grading, the creativity and thought they put in to their lessons and projects and the time and patience with which they interact daily with our children are points in fact in all cases, with all teachers. Look back upon the past ten months with rose-colored glasses to help your children connect ever more strongly with the lessons and guidance of the past year.

On behalf of the children, we express heartfelt gratitude to the teachers, and parents, for all they’ve done this past year to elevate, inspire, teach and mold the next generation.  May the children bring us much nachas and be Zocheh to lead us all to welcome Moshiach Tzidkeinu, Bimheira B’yomainu.

With best wishes for a wonderful Shabbos and a relaxing, rejuvenating and enriching summer,

Rabbi Kalman Baumann

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