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I got YOU here!!!

Written by Rabbi Moshe Kormornick

. . . And Dosson and Aviram — the same Dosson and Aviram the chosen of the assembly, who incited against Moshe and Aharon . . . (26:9)

Dosson and Aviram had a long history of trouble-making. They were the ones who told Pharaoh that Moshe had killed an Egyptian;[1] they campaigned against Moshe when he came back to redeem the Jewish People;[2] they did not leave Egypt with the rest of the Jewish People — only after they saw that Egypt had been defeated.[3] They were the ones who hoarded the mannah and attempted to disprove Moshe who said that there would be no mannah found on Shabbos.[4] In short, as the Gemara says, “they were evil from their beginning to their end.[5]

Despite all of this, the verse calls them “chosen of the assembly”— a term of praise awarded to those who sat with Moshe and Aharon and received advice and assistance.[6] One would have expected that these two would have been sent away a long time ago; or at the very least, not be welcome in the presence of Moshe and Aharon. Yet, not only are they not being banished, they are receiving advice and support from them?!

Although there are circumstances when certain people do need to be sent away, the Chofetz Chaim notes that Moshe and Aharon felt that in this case, doing so would have caused greater damage. As such, Moshe and Aharon understood that their role was to help Dosson and Aviram and encourage them to mend their ways despite the personal vendetta Dosson and Aviram held against them.[7]

In life, we often have to face difficult people or challenging circumstances. Often, we feel that the best thing for us is to escape the situation by ignoring the person or to hide ourselves away from the challenge we are facing. There are times when this is the right thing to do, but we learn from Moshe and Aharon to put our personal feelings aside as much as possible and look at the wider picture. Specifically, we must realize that Hashem is directing everything we experience in life, and each challenge we face is another opportunity to grow. This is most keenly felt when it comes to helping difficult people. We often feel that we are giving to them, but in truth, we are gaining so much more. This can be demonstrated using the following parable:

Reuven and Shimon met in Heaven: In life, Reuven was very needy, his observance was shaky and he required a lot attention. Shimon was a dedicated and religious Jew and spent a lot of energy keeping Reuven afloat. When they met, Shimon was delighted and exclaimed, “Reuven, I’m so glad that I got you here!”

“Actually,” replied Reuven, “it was me who got you here!”


[1] Rashi, Shemos 4:19.

[2] Rashi, Shemos 5:20.

[3] Targum Yonasan, Shemos 14:3.

[4] Rashi, Shemos 16:20.

[5] Megilla 11a.

[6] Chofetz Chaim Hachadash Al HaTorah, p.471 (Based on the Emek Davar, Bamidbar 16:2.)

[7] Ibid.

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