Thursday, November 4, 2010


Erev Shabbos Kodesh Parshas Toldos

28 Cheshvan 5771/November 5, 2010

In my office in Bais Hachinuch (where I serve as the yeshiva’s Social Worker) there is a sign on my wall which reads “Hurt people hurt people”. It is a very true and powerful statement. When we feel confident and comfortable with ourselves we generally will not be critical and negative towards others. It is when we are feeling lowly about ourselves that we look to ‘even the score’ by making negative or nasty comments about others. Thus, it is a hurting person that will hurt the feelings of others.

I try to teach this idea both to the aggressor who hurts someone else’s feelings and to the victim whose feelings were hurt. The aggressor must realize that if he feels the need to make such comments to others there is something about himself that he is unhappy with. The victim too must understand that the insult is not as much a reflection of his own deficiency as it is that of the one who uttered it. If one is able to realize the source of an insult he is far better prepared to deal with it.

Along the same lines, an insightful friend noted that if we truly want to eradicate loshon hora (evil speech) from our speech we have to analyze the root of the problem. More often than not we speak loshon hora out of feelings of jealousy or inferiority. If we want to train ourselves to speak positively about others we have to realize the source of the problem and work on improving the way we view others.

The old adage states that, ‘Misery loves company’. When we are feeling blue it is comforting when we are able to share our misery with someone else who can commiserate and empathize with us. It gives us a sense of validation and makes us feel better about our pain.

But the truth is that it is not merely misery which loves company, but all emotions love company. We love to share all our feelings with others. Thus when we are angry about something we seek the company of others who share our gripes, and when we want to kvetch about something we look for fellow kvetchers.

On a more positive note when we are happy and full of good will we look to share those feelings as well. There is a beautiful line which is often printed on response cards of wedding/bar mitzvah invitations: “An event becomes a simcha when shared with family and friends.” How eloquent and true!

All emotions are somewhat contagious and when we are able to share feelings of happiness it increases our own joy and helps us appreciate the celebration that much more.

It is with this in mind that we humbly express our appreciation to all our friends and family for the good wishes and blessings of mazal tov that we received since the birth of our daughter, Chaya Tzippora. By displaying your genuine happiness for us you have increased our joy, simply by sharing this simcha with us. May Hashem grant us many opportunities to reciprocate.

Shabbat Shalom & Good Shabbos,

R’ Dani and Chani Staum