How do you feel about a driver that because of cell phone use unintentionally caused a pedestrian’s death?  Would you provide him with shelter if the deceased’s family was out to take  revenge? The Torah  teaches:

You shall designate cities for yourselves, cities of refuge shall they be for you, and a murderer shall flee there–one who takes a life unintentionally.” (35:11)

 The poor guy is in shock, full of remorse, guilt, confusion. He feels dejected and unwanted.

    God tells Moshe to help the man out.  Tell him that he has a place in the world . He is by no means doomed. He can make amends in a positive atmosphere and can indeed live a quality rich life. Sure, he will be in exile,but with people who will welcome him and teach him how to live a proper, moral, and constructive life . This was the job of the tribe of Levi.  The Torah teaches us that we are not to forsake, even people that have  blood on their hands and surely others that are guilty of more minor crimes and evils.

      Helping such a person put his life in order and to have a healthy perspective is an immeasurable kindness. You may not realize it but you may even be saving his life by saying a nice warm encouraging word to him.

    This is just another example of ” love thy neighbor as thyself” If you were really down wouldn’t you appreciate some compassion and guidance to get out of your rut? Even if a person refuses your offers to help, try to keep an eye on him until he softens and perhaps try again.

The Alter of Slabodka, R’ Noson Tzvi Finkel, never expelled a boy from his yeshivah. He would do his utmost to work with students who persistently challenged the yeshivah staff because he felt that, in the long run, these boys could be helped.

          R’ Nosson Tzvi was once under a great deal of pressure to expel a particular boy who, as the other staff members saw it, had no place in the yeshivah. Adamant that the boy not be dismissed, R’ Nosson Tzvi expressed the importance of emulating the middos of HaKadosh Boruch Hu. He explained that although man continues to sin, HaShem does not punish him immediately but waits for him to repent. “We, too, must give the boy a chance to change his ways,” said R’ Nosson Tzvi.

          The students of the Slabodka yeshivah later unanimously affirmed that R’ Nosson Tzvi’s approach was a great success. He was able to help numerous boys whom other rabbis viewed as lost causes, and to draw these students close to Torah.  R’ Nosson Tzvi nurtured these students and guided them until they grew to be great talmidei chachamim. 

    The principal of high school I know ,related that there was a boy in the school that ,due to his misbehavior, spent more time in his office than in class. He didn’t expel that boy. Years later he turned out to be a doctor and to say a shiur in daf yomi. Imagine what could have happened if that boy was shown the door.

 Friends, at this critical time when our brothers are in GAZA fighting to protect, and defend our nation from cruel , ruthless terrorists, every kind word we say, every act of compassion, every thought of love to another Jew  is a shield against a hamas bullet or rocket aimed at our brothers. So lets make a super effort to go out and look for opportunities to do kindness to others, even to smile warmly to our friends ,relatives, neighbors. It really makes a big difference.  Shabbat shalom. 

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