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Lifting Up The Dejected

Written by Rabbi Yehoshua Alt, 2/6/2019

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Lifting Up The Dejected

In 1846, at the young age of 30, R’ Avraham Mordechai Alter, the son of the Chidushei Harim (1799-1866) became very ill. Seeing his son low-spirited, the Chidushai Harim told him to have a will to live as inובחרת בחיים; choose life.[1] After his father left the room, R’ Avrohom Mordechai pleaded with Hashem to have another few years to his life so he can have another child. He then said that he will call him Yehuda becauseהפעם אודה את ה';[2] gratefully praise Hashem, the words expressed by Yehuda’s mother when he was born. The following year- in 1847- Yehuda Aryeh, otherwise known as the Sefas Emes (1847-1905), was born.


In this way, we can grasp the words in our Parsha נשא את ראש בני גרשון-[3] lift up those people who feel that they are divorced from Hashem. We see an example of this by Kayin who was told ...למה נפלו פניך הלא אם תיטיב שאת; why are you down, if you improve yourself you will be forgiven.[4] In a day and age where so many feel dejected, it is relatively easy to fulfill this. Giving someone a word of encouragement or some advice can go a long way.[5] Even to ourselves we can fulfill this as there are many times when we feel down as well.

R’ Alt merited to learn under the tutelage of R’ Mordechai Friedlander Ztz”l for close to five years. He received Semicha from R’ Zalman Nechemia Goldberg. R’ Alt has written on numerous topics for various websites and publications. He lives with his wife and family in a suburb of Yerushalayim where he studies, writes and teaches. The author is passionate about teaching Jews of all levels of observance.

[1] Devarim 30:19

[2] Breishis 29:35

[3] Bamidbar 4:22. Although at times it is necessary to give rebuke, it needs to be done in the proper way as otherwise it can cause lots of damage. In this way we can interpret אל תוכח לץ פן ישנאך הוכח לחכם ויאהבך; do not rebuke a scoffer lest he hate you, rebuke a wise man and he will love you (Mishlei 9:8)- don’t rebuke someone by belittling him since then he will hate you. Rather give rebuke by saying you are a חכם, you are too good for this. In a similar vein, we can grasp מוסר ה' בני אל תמאס; my child do not despise Hashem’s discipline (Mishlei 3:11), as the Mussar is that we are a son of Hashem. So, אל תמאס- don’t make yourself disgusting as we are too good for negative behavior.

[4] Breishis 4:6,7

[5] The Pasuk states מחטב עציך עד שאב מימיך; …from the hewer of wood to the drawer of water (Devarim 29:10). A deeper explanation given is that at times it is more important to give advice- עצות– to someone than to learn- שאב מימיך, as Torah is referred to as water. 

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