Parshas Massei

In this week's parsha the Tribes of Gad and Reuven request from Moshe to be able to settle the land to the east of the Jorden River. They explained that the land was perfect for the grazing needs of their abundant flock. Moshe however criticized them and explained that the rest of the Jewish People would suspect their motives as coming from fear of battle with the Canaanites. In the end the Tribes of Gad and Reuven agreed to go fight along with their brethren so as not to weaken the resolve of the nation.

The Mishna in Shkalim learned from this incident that a person shouldn't do something that brings suspicion on himself. For example a collector of tzedaka who finds a coin musn't put it directly into his pocket lest someone watching think he took for himself from the money he was collecting. He should rather put the coin in the tzedaka box and later at home transfer to his own wallet when nobody would see.

At first glance it would seem that the issue of doing something suspicious and the incident with the Tribes of Gad and Reuven are dissimilar. They were going to do something that would have a bad influence on others, whereas doing something suspicious is wrong because it's not good when we suspect each other.

We must conclude that they are one and the same. Any suspicious act we might do tends to have an adverse effect on the observer similar to the adverse effect of the Tribes of Gad and Reuven. When we see someone doing something that would seem to be improper, subconsciously our resolve to do proper is weakened. That's human nature. We observe each other and learn from each other.

In the same vein when we do something correct we aren't just doing it for ourselves, we are having a positive effect, be it large or small, on all those who watch us or know about it. The opportunity to influence others is endless.

Rabbi Beryl Glaser

Parshas Matot - Massei classes on Youtube

PARSHAS MASEI: YOUR Journey of Life by Rabbi Dovid Horowitz