A Student Publication of the Torah Academy of Bergen County
Parshat Vayakhel 27 Adar I 5763 March 1, 2003 Vol.12 No.19
In This Issue:
Joel M. Berman
week’s issue of Kol Torah has been sponsored by
Standing in the Shadow of Kedusha
by Dr. Joel M. Berman
One muddy winter night in 1979, Lieutenant
Shai was sitting with a mobile radar unit on a hill overlooking a plain in south
Lebanon. Nine of his soldiers were lying in the plain below in an ambush. They
didn't wait long. Radar detected three forms moving south towards Israel. They
were terrorists from the PLO. Lieutenant Shai radioed his ambush commander to
prepare. The three blips on the radar screen were moving closer and closer to
the ambush. Suddenly, the blips reversed direction and started moving back North
into Lebanon. Lieutenant Shai radioed the direction and distance of the
terrorists from the ambush and told his ambush commander to commence firing
immediately. The commander told Shai that he could still hear the terrorists
moving south and that they should wait. Shai told him the Radar said otherwise
and the ambush should begin firing. The commander refused. Finally Lieutenant
Shai ordered his ambush commander to commence firing immediately! The commander
refused, being thoroughly convinced that he could still hear the terrorists
moving south towards the ambush. “It was the most frustrating experience of my
life” Shai told me. “Three terrorists slipped through our hands. Why didn't
he listen to me?”
A few years ago an acquaintance of mine put the following ad in the dinner journal of Yeshiva where I learned: “To Rabbi (the Honoree's name) -Whenever I've followed your advice, I've prospered. When I haven't… I haven't.” Why didn't he listen?
In last week's Parsha (32,15), Moshe Rabbeinu and Yehoshua meet at the bottom of Sinai, as Klal Yisroel are reveling with the golden calf. Yehoshua reports to Moshe, “Kol Milchama Bamachanr” “(I hear) the sound of battle (coming from) the camp.” Moshe corrects Yehoshua, “Kol Anot Anochi Shomea” “(No) it is the sound of distress I hear.” Rav Shimon Schwab zt”l explains that Moshe chastised Yehoshua for failing to distinguish between sounds of simcha and joy, and the sounds of depression, which was the result of Klal Yisroel's mistaken belief that they were leaderless and abandoned in the midbar. Yehoshua listened and became the most successful manhig of Klal Yisroel in Eretz Yisroel.
The Midrash on this week’s Parasha tells us that Betzalel derived his name from “Bitzel Kel” “in the shadow of Hashem.” He was brilliant, but also wise enough to follow the directions of Moshe Rabbeinu. After all, Moshe Rabbeinu wasn't, like Betzalel, merely in Hashem’s shadow, Moshe Rabbeinu stood in Hashem’s direct light. For listening and following directions, Betzalel became the greatest craftsman of all time.
It is quite a test sometimes to listen and follow the advice of our Rabbis, parents and teachers, especially when we feel another solution would be more appropriate. The ambush commander and the author of the ad blew it. Yehoshua and Betzalel simply listened and took good advice, and for that, count among the greatest people of all times.
Staff at time of publication:
Editor-in-Chief Emeritus: Josh Dubin
Editors-in-Chief: Shuky Gross, Effie Richmond
Publication Editors: Sam Wiseman, Jerry Karp
Publishing Manager: Ely Winkler
Distribution Managers: Uriel Schechter, Simcha Haber
Business Manager: Andy Feuerstein Rudin
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