Parshas Bamidbar

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Parshas Bamidbar


Decisions, decisions, decisions! Life is all about decisions. What am I going to eat today? What should I wear? Do I really need another coffee? Our entire life is one big decision. Most of these decisions in our everyday lives are the usual small decisions that get us through the day. However, there are no lack of big decisions that come our way. Who to marry, how to raise the kids, and where to live are some of the big decisions we all face; at-least supposed to face! Sometimes, it seems as if even these major parts of our lives are out of our hands. If you ask the average person on the street how did he or she end up living in the community they live in, most of the answers will be similar. Either they’ll tell you it’s job related, or they just grew up there. Occasionally you’ll hear the “we just decided this is the right place for us” answer.

To a large part, where we end up living, in a broad sense of the picture, is out of our hands. Whether it be L.A. or New York, Chicago or Miami, Denver or Boston seems to be decided for us. Nevertheless, the decision in which town to live in is usually up to us. The Torah gives immense importance to the place where one resides. In this week’s parsha, perek 3 pasuk 38, the Torah tells us that Moshe and Aharon, with their children, lived on the east side of the mishkan. Rashi right away tells us about the great effect Moshe and Aharon had on their neighbors. The tribes of Yehuda, Yissachar, and Zevulun, all encamped right next to Moshe and Aharon. Due to their unbelievable neighbors, these tribes all prospered in their levels of holiness. The environment of Torah and mitzvos which emanated from the two great Torah giants of the greatest generation in the Jewish people’s history was contagious. As a result, Yehuda, Yissachar, and Zevulun reached heights in their service of the Almighty above and beyond. This is what we call “tov l’tzadik tov l’scheino”, good for the righteous and good for his neighbor.

We are all in some way effected by our environment, whether for better or worse. Our decision of where to live can inevitably mold the very fabric of who we are. If one lives among great people, it won’t be long before the desire for greatness creeps into his or her life. Even though everything in life is decisions, decisions, decisions, some of those big decisions will have everlasting effects on all of our smaller decisions. To live in an environment of Torah and mitzvos, or not? It’s your decision, like everything else in life.


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