Monday, April 22, 2013

350 - Vayeira

Before destroying Sodom, Hashem felt it necessary to inform Avraham of the impending destruction. "Am I going to conceal from Avraham what I am doing. . . Ki yedativ - For I have cherished him." Rashi explains that although "yedativ" in this context is used as a term of affection, nevertheless, essentially the word yedativ means "I have known him." The rationale why this terminology is used to describe affectionate feelings is because when one cherishes another person he draws him close and becomes familiar with him. 

When one loves another person he will attempt to get to know him and become acquainted. In conjunction with this idea, Rav Wolbe (Shiurei Chumash) related a story about his Rebbi, Rav Yeruchom Levovitz zt"l. Rav Yeruchom once traveled by train from his hometown of Mir to Warsaw. In those days, all the Jewish passengers would congregate in a designated car of the train thereby enabling them to travel in a friendly atmosphere. Over the course of the trip each person would acquaint themselves with their fellow passengers. By the time Rav Yeruchom reached his destination he had acquainted himself with each and every passenger. Not only did he find out from where they originated, to where they were traveling, and each one's occupation, he also attempted to alleviate any plight of theirs. To one Yid he mentioned a prospect for his daughter, to another he suggested a possible partner for his business venture, and to others he offered advice in various areas. Rav Yeruchom loved Yidden and therefore he tried his best to get to know them.

It is an all too common occurrence that one sits next to another person on a daily basis and besides for a good morning greeting or a slight nod of the head, there is no other interaction between them. It might be the person in the next seat at Shachris, the individual across the table by lunch break, or an employee at work. One who has ahavas ha'brios will try to familiarize himself with the lives of those around him, not simply out of curiosity, rather because he has a true desire to acquaint himself with them and possibly offer assistance should the need arise. Take the initiative and strike up a friendly conversation with a Yid you would otherwise ignore. In the very least you will have increased ahava and shalom in Klal Yisrael, and in many instances you might actually be able to help them in some way and earn a mitzvah of chesed! 

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