PARSHAS MATOS- MASAY
One of the themes in the sedra this week (Masay) are the Cities of Refuge, the arai miklat. These
are special cities where entry is allowed only by someone who's guilty
of accidental murder. The reason these cities were founded was not only
to escape the perhaps revengeful hand of the victim's pained family.
But, also because people who belong there are generally good, straight
individuals who committed these unforgivable crimes completely by
mistake, and were so torn and broken about it that they just didn't know
what to do with themselves or where to go.
The Chidushei HaRim explains that when someone in klal yisrael hurts
someone, even unintentionally, he naturally feels full of pain and
guilt. In fact, he'll be so broken that he'll feel as if he has no place
in the world for him to go. That's why Hashem is offering him this City Of Refuge- a safe cove for him to hide in until the passing of the Kohen Gadol which served as the dismissal bell.
have a friend who, a couple of years ago, at the age of 28 had 6 kids
under the age of 10. May she live and be well. One day, her husband went
into the hospital for a very minor, uncomplicated sinus procedure,
where he was in the hands of a skilled doctor. During the surgery,
though, the doctor accidentally touched
a wrong nerve which caused bleeding in his eye. While trying to fix
that, he shifted the bleeding and caused his patient a serious brain
hemorrhage. He remained in the hospital, completely relying on life
support, in a vegetative state, for the last few months of his life.
point of bringing you this tragic story was not just to be a carrier of
bad news. No way. It's because the doctor, a fine, honest, caring Jew,
was so beside himself with pain and guilt that he just didn't, and still
doesn't know where to put himself. He wants to run. He wants to hide.
He wants to cry. He wants to repent. When I was reading the parsha this
week, I understood a little better how important it is to have these
cities of refuge for people who are guilty- but purely by accident.
there's a catch here. Yes, the cities of refuge are a wonderful thing
for people. But, it only helps if a person really feels remorse and
pain. It only benefits a person who is so shattered by what he did that
he feels there is no place in the world for him to go. Someone who's
not touched or moved too deeply by his mistake will not find consolation or benefit in any way from going there.
when you harm someone in any way, and you deeply regret it, this can be
something very positive and beneficial. It can motivate you to improve.
It can encourage you to be more careful next time. Even when we do
things by accident, there's a high chance that if we would have been
just that much more careful, it
wouldn't have happened. So if the guilty feeling brings one to be more
attentive or less negligent in the future, there will definitely be a
positive outcome from their mistake. And that's what the arei miklat are for. To help deal with the guilty party's emotions and help him become a person who's more conscious and careful.
G-d most of us aren't actually killing anybody, but we sure do hurt
people in many other ways. We don't have a City Of Refuge for that, nor
do we need one. But let's at least try to feel guilty when we do, and
try to turn those feelings into greater consciousness and alertness.
Someone once went to the Steipler Gaon and asked him for a bracha that
he should be found innocent in court for a violation of a traffic law.
Instead of giving him a blessing, the Steipler admonished him, saying
"If you violated a traffic law, you're endangering the lives of other
people. Therefore, you are deserving of the greatest punishment."
We hurt people with words and with actions. Ironically, we also hurt people with a lack of words and a lack of action.
weeks parsha teaches us AWARENESS. To recognize when we have caused
someone pain and to feel so bad about that mistake, that we will not
repeat it again in the future.
Have a great shabbos!