Sunday, September 18, 2011

When Silence is Deafening

"The hidden things belong to the Lord, our God, but the revealed things apply to us and to our children forever: that we must fulfill all the words of this Torah." [Nitzavim 29:28]


[Written by Rabbi Yisrael Bronstein]

Rashi explains that a Jew is not expected to offer his friend rebuke for the sins that lie hidden within his heart, for how can he possibly know what another man is thinking?  Therefore, in the case of hidden sins, Hashem exacts retribution from the sinner alone.

On the other hand, a Jew is expected to rebuke his fellow man for the sins he does openly.  Consequently, when Jews overlook other people's misdeeds, Hashem's anger is brought upon all of them.

A terrible dispute broke out in Radin, the Chofetz Chaim's hometown. Though the Chofetz Chaim was by now in his later years, he rushed to the shul and approached the bimah.  From there, he addressed the community.

"My dear brothers!" began the Chofetz Chaim.  "If someone would have offered me 2,000 rubles to deliver a derashah in shul, I would not have accepted it! I am not willing to sell my precious time for money.  However, because of the situation, I am forced to speak.  We must know that there will come a time when each and every one of us will be required to stand before the Heavenly Court and give an account of all the deeds that he performed over the course of his life.

"You must be aware that strife is a very serious matter!  A person may have performed scores of mitzvos in his life, but if he was guilty of causing or involving himself in matters of dispute, then he is like a person who tried filling a bag that had a large hole at its bottom - all the mitzvos he performed will be lost.

"I have no doubt that when the individuals from Radin who were involved in the dispute come before the Heavenly Court, they will attempt to clear themselves by stating the following:

"We cannot be held accountable! For in our city there lived an elderly Jew, by the name of Yisrael Meir, whom we deemed to be a talmid chacham.  He saw all that was transpiring, yet he remained silent."

"Therefore, my dear brothers" concluded the Chofetz Chaim in a voice filled with emotion, "I beg of you - do not mention by name before the Heavenly Court!"

As these words left the mouth of the Chofetz Chaim, he broke down and wept bitterly, and his frail body trembled. This sight made a very powerful impression on the people of Radin, and the dispute was resolved immediately.

All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing. .... Edmund Burke
Silence encourages the tormentor, never the tormented.....Elie Wiesel

1 comment:

  1. Devorah,how appropriate in the month of Elul leading up to Rosh HaShana.

    This should be nailed to every front door of every Jewish Institution in the world....religious, political, educational and social.

    ReplyDelete

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