When a dead person was found between two cities the Bais Din of the closest city to the corpse must perform the ritual of Eglah Arufah which involves their confession that they did not cause his death. Rashi brings the Chazal that explains that of course they are not at all suspected as the culprits of his murder. Rather their confession entails that they sent their guest away with food and drink and with לויה  which means accompaniment. If they fulfilled this requirement then they are pardoned from responsibility over his death. Otherwise, they are held liable for his demise.

One can understand why their negligence of supplying the guest with sufficient food for the journey might hold them responsible since this would cause him weakness and if one was attacked by thieves on the way he would have no strength to ward them off. But how does the lack of their accompaniment of the guest make them responsible for his death?

Self – esteem and respect is an integral part in the formation of a psychologically and emotionally healthy human being. We find this when Hashem created the first human He bestowed upon Adam Harishon kovod by placing upon him a glorious cloud which was removed from him after the chait(Pirkei D’Rav Eliezer 14). Immediately after the chait of Adam he made for himself clothing. In Lashon Hakodesh the word for clothing is לבוש  which Chazal translate as לא בוש  not to be embarrassed for clothing covers one’s nakedness and brings him kovod the opposite of shame. Our Chazal tell us that the neshamos of Yisrael come from underneath the Kisay Hakavod. The form of Yaakov Avinu is engraved on the Kisay Hakavod. Our neshamah is called kovod as we see from the passuk עורה כבודי  which refers to the neshamah(Tehillim 57,9).

Self Esteem is so important to people that the Rambam rules (Matanas Aniyim 7,6) that if a rich man suddenly became poor, one must raise money for him even to service him with his previous kovod status of a coach with horses and slaves running in front of him. The reason being, that this past kovod that he possessed has become an essential part of his psychological and emotional well being without which he could not live. Physical and verbal abuse to a child can damage him for life. Words of encouragement, praise, and compliments are the key to give one’s child the fortitude and confidence to bring out his potential and become a successful individual during life.

The compliment of “I believe in you” is essential. Your child needs to know that whether they are succeeding at the moment, or not, that you have not given up on their ability to succeed. Believing in your child’s ability to accomplish their goals will give them the motivation they need to become better.

I love you. While this may not sound like a compliment it is the most important you can give. Your child’s potential is endless if they know they are loved. Your child will trust you more if you always show your love for them. Saying I love you releases endorphins in the brain that bring joy to a child. Saying “I love you” can actually help your children learn and succeed.

It is our job as parents to give our children hope, love and confidence. The right compliments can bring success and joy to our children. Never stop teaching them and give praise when necessary. Provide a strong, positive foundation in your child’s life for them to build their future on. If they have confidence they will be able to face all kinds of challenges that face them since they have meaning and a mission to live for.

By the Elders accompanying a guest on his journey they inject him with kovod and respect. The honor given to him with such a prestigious entourage gives him self confidence and esteem that he will fight for his life if necessary. If the Elders accompanied their guest on his way, then they have supported him enough to overpower a thief who places his life in danger. If such support of kovod is missing then it is very possible that a stranger travelling town to town has already a low self respect, when confronted with any danger he readily surrenders his life to his adversary without putting up a fight at all. This is the meaning of the Elder’s confession that they accompanied the stranger on his journey. They supplied him with kovod and self esteem which is also a tool to have enabled him to preserve his life when threatened.

To give a child, spouse, or friend an honest compliment is an incredible chesed with long ranging effects and it is also a very easy task to achieve. Such recognition of someone else’s special conduct even if it be something seemingly insignificant can change his mood on the spot and affect the success of his day. Simply greeting another person with a smile or a Shalom Aleichem is in itself a compliment. Did you ever wonder why when another person addresses us with a Shalom Aleichem we answer with the reverse Aleichem Shalom? It is not because Yidden are contrarians. This is gleaned from the episode in Ruth where Boaz greets the harvesters in the field with ה’ עמכם and they responded with יברכך ה’ in the opposite order.The Shelah answers that it is based on the gemarah in Nedarim 10 that states when a person wants to donate a korban to the Bais Hamikdash he vows קרבן לה’  and not לה’ קרבן. The reason being that perhaps he might suddenly die after saying לה’  without completing the vow with קרבן thereby saying Hashem’s name in vain. So too here where the greeting to another Yid is by using the name of Hashem שלום if one was to answer with שלום  first he might suddenly die without finishing off with  עליכםthereby mentioning Hashem’s name in vein. In order to avoid this, the minhag is to reverse the words and say עליכם שלום in order to avoid the accident of mentioning Hashem’s name in vain. But you will ask what about the greeter who mentions Hashem’s name first before עליכם? The answer to this is that we are not afraid that he will die suddenly because he has the extra merit of living a long life in that he initiated the greeting. כל המקדים שלום לחבירו מאריכין ימיו ושנותיו.

What is the greatness of initiating a greeting? My Rebbi Rav Shlomo Freifeld ztl explained that by initiating a greeting you are recognizing that his existence and presence are precious to you and that you are happy to see him. By doing so you are giving to him a tremendous compliment which gives a person חיות – life. Therefore, midah keneged midah you also receive chayim in return.

During a chasunah the chachamim would dance in front of the Kallah and sing כלה נאה וחסודה. This was not beneath their dignity at all. They understood very well that one of the most far reaching choices that one makes during his lifetime is his marriage partner whom he met for three weeks or for one hour according to some traditions. There can exist in the heart of the chassan certain feelings of insecurity over his choice marrying someone he really doesn’t know. In order to eradicate any such feelings the chachamimwould dance in front of the Kallah praising his choice that she is everything that one could desire. They felt that giving such a compliment of chizzuk would affect the building of a closer bond and greater shalom bayis between the new couple.

Let us end with the insightful words of the Maharsha (Sotah 45) that the mitzvah of accompaniment does not only apply walking with him outside the city limits but also in the city even if it involves only four cubits of your walking. By doing so you are showing that your thoughts and desires are that he should be protected and this helps for his entire journey רצון יראיו יעשה. Or it works because your angels accompany him through his entire journey. According to the Maharsha even when one gives a compliment which is to be mechazaik and give chiyus to someone else, one should know that he arouses a siyata dishmaya that will help fulfill his desire to benefit another person.

As the Rambam writes (Megillah 2,17) there is no greater and glorious  simcha than to help the poor, orphans, widows and gerim. By doing so one is emulating his creator upon whom it is written (Yeshaya 57) להחיות רוח שפלים ולהחיות לב נדכאים  to inject life into the spirt of the low and to inject life into the heart of the crushed.

Gut Shabbos,
Rav Brazil