Written by Kitah Alef teacher - Yael Perez
In this week’s parasha we discuss the importance of being a role model and the power of speech. As an educator, I am a role model to my students and using the power of speech I have the ability to influence them in a positive way.
We learned that while the Bnei Yisrael were in the desert, they received mun (food that has the ability to taste like anything), clouds, and water in the merit of Moshe, Aaron and Miryam. The Torah Temima explains that the three combined were really in the merit of Avraham Avinu. How? Avraham did hachnasat orchim (welcoming and hosting his guests). By offering them water, we received the bear miryam. For the shade he gave his guests, we received the annanei ha-kavod. For the food he offered his guests, we received the mun. This shows us the importance of every action of our ancestors is recorded and comes back to a future generations. As an educator, our actions are not only recorded and observed by our students, but have impact on them and their future generations.
The parasha also talks about the incident involving Mei Merivah (water of conflict) where there are different opinions of what exactly Moshe’s aveira (sin) was and why as a result of it he was unable to enter Eretz Yisrael. According to many opinions, the aveira was that Moshe hit the rock instead of speaking to it. The question posed here is- what difference is there between speaking and hitting the rock? After all, it’s just a rock. Rav Moshe Feinstein z”l explains that sometimes in life we will have situations where we have to “speak to rocks”. We may give a class where no one listens or a parent speaks to an unresponsive child. The message here is clear, it is very important to speak to others even when we feel like we are in fact “speaking to the rocks” and they are not listening.
The Chafetz Chaim states, “it is necessary to speak to people whether one thinks it will help or not”. By speaking to someone, seeds are planted for the future. Sometimes we speak to students and children and we think they are not listening, but subconsciously our message is planted within them. The lesson of Mei Merivah showed us that even when a person speaks to an inanimate object like a rock, there can be results. Even more so, when speaking to a child the impact can be enormous. In addition, we see that Maasei Avot Siman Le-Banin (the actions of our ancestors) affect our everyday lives even if it is generations later.
Wishing you all a Shabbat Shalom,
Morah Yael Perez