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Thursday, 11 July, 2013 - 8:57 pm


Bring forth wise and understanding men, known among your tribes, and I will place them at your head (1:13)

The word va'asimaim ("and I will place them") is written in the Torah lacking the letter Yud, so that the word can also be read as va'ashamam, "and their guilt." This comes to teach us that the faults of a generation rest with its heads and leaders. (Talmud; Rashi)

When someone comes to a Rebbe and seeks his counsel and assistance in dealing with a spiritual malady, the Rebbe must first find the same blemish, if only in the most subtle of forms, in his own soul; only then can the Rebbe help him to refine and perfect his self and character. This is the deeper significance of that which our sages have said, "the faults of a generation rest with its heads and leaders". (Rabbi Yosef Yitzchok of Lubavitch)

As parents, we are the guiding light for our children and their first “leaders”. When we set out to help our children improve or overcome negative habits, we must go through the above process of self-reflection and find some similar aspect of refinement in our own character.

This Shabbos, think about something you wish you can help your child improve in. Look inside and first find something similar within to change. Only then will you be successful in accomplishing the improvement in your child.

May this empathetic discipline bring about Hashem’s empathy for the improvement of His children with the rebuilding of the third Bais Hamikdash!

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