Eikev: Following in Hashem’s Ways: Lifelong Diplomacy
Wednesday, August 01, 2007 / 17 Av 5767
“To walk in all Hashem’s ways.” (11:22)
The Jewish people are commanded to follow and emulate the ways of our Creator. Our Sages teach us that we are created, ‘B’tzelem Elokim’ – in Hashem’s image so to speak.
Thus, the One Above is essentially our role model as we go about our daily lives. It’s a tough act to follow, but we are the Chosen people and we were created with a purpose.
Rabbi Yaakov Hillel related in an address to us Yeshiva students on the eve of our return home for the summer, that we must view ourselves as diplomats and representatives of Judaism. And so, we are required to dress and behave accordingly. His point - how would it look for a diplomat to be running around in an inappropriate and uncouth manner?
In today’s day and age, such occurrences of reckless behavior by highly regarded individuals make nightly news time and time again. Unless we view our very self as a diplomat – part of a chosen nation – it will be hard to engrain the necessary character traits deep within ourselves. By doing so will we fulfill that which is stated, “To walk in all Hashem’s ways.” (Ibid.)
The following story illustrates this very concept.
Part of being a representative of the Chosen people is caring for all of humanity not only ourselves. This is necessary because everyone else was also created – our Sages tell us – with a divine image.
And so, The Maharal of Prague was once walking along the road when he found a young gentile boy crying on the curb. He asked the boy what was wrong and what had happened.
“My father is a baker and he gave me rolls to deliver. My friends saw me, beat me up, and then stole the rolls. Now I can’t go back to my father because he’ll beat me.”
The Maharal took out some money from his pocket, handed it to the kid, and went on his way.
Many, many years later, the Maharal was learning late at night when he heard a knock at the door. He was a bit suspicious and went to the door to see who it was. There stood a man whom he did not recognize. The man asked, “Do you recognize me?”
“Well, I was that kid who you reached out to many years ago…”
The man proceeded to inform the Maharal of an imminent plot that planned to kill the Jews of Prague by poisoning the bread they intended to buy immediately after Pesach from the gentile bakers.
Thus, compassion toward a fellow man saved the Jews of Prague.
If we act and behave as Representatives – following and emulating the ways of our Creator, we will sanctify Hashem’s name and set an example for all of humanity.
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