CALL US 443-660-9132

A Timely Torah Message By Shaya Gross

 Healthy Self-Esteem

[Editor’s note: As a memory of my beloved brother Shaya, I would like to continue sending out his pearls of wisdom that he has shared with all of you in the past. For some of you this may ring a bell and for others it may appear to be totally new. May the learning of Shaya’s Divrei Torah inspire us to change our ways and thereby give an Aliya to the neshama of our dear beloved Shaya whom we miss so much. A special thank you to Aaron Friedman for always looking over the divrei torah.]

The Pasuk in this week’s Parsha tells us that when one rebukes his fellow Jew, ‘ולא תשא עליו חטא.’ The simple explanation is that one should be careful to give rebuke in a way where you will not sin, like by embarrassing him.The Chavas Ya’eer & other commentators explain in a homiletic twist that  ולא תשא עליו’ חטא’  means, “don’t raise the sin over him.” Don’t say ‘how could you do such a terrible thing, you are such a wicked person.’ Rather, lift him up over the sin. Say ‘you are such a special person, it’s not befitting for someone of your stature to do something like that.’

Perhaps we can take this theme one step further. Not only in regards to rebuking others do we have to be very careful to refrain from derogatory comments and only give positive reinforcement, but also in how we view ourselves. If a person views himself as being a bad person who has sinned in the past, then when more tests come his way, the person might say ‘I’m such a bad person already so what difference does it make if I sin more.’ Or, ‘I’m a not a holy person anyways, so my learning, davening, and Mitzvos aren’t valuable.’

That is a terrible mistake!
The correct outlook is to say ‘I am a sincere and good person. Although I am not perfect and have my shortcomings, I am seeking to grow and change for the better.’ With that outlook, when one is tested with challenges one will be able to say ‘no, I am not going to give in to the Yetzer Hara because the act that he wants me to do is not befitting someone of my caliber!’

Let us all take this lesson from the Parsha to heart. To always give positive, constructive criticism and for ourselves to always have a healthy self-esteem. This will Iy”H help us overcome a lot of the tests & challenges that the Yetzer Hara sends our way.

[Editor’s note: This idea is like the Mishna in this week’s Pirkei Avos (2:13) which says ‘don’t make yourself wicked in your own eyes.’ Reb Eli Stefansky explained a similar idea in the daf yomi recently (Yevamos 48). The Gemara was discussing the Eishes Yefas Toar, the woman who was captured in battle, who was too seductive for a soldier to resist temptation. Hashem allows the soldier to marry that woman knowing full well that the soldier has a tremendous temptation. The soldiers were the greatest tzaddikim and yet Hashem understood that they are human as well. They have shortcomings as well. Hashem understands what we go through, as He puts us in those situations. We just have to remember that next time we fall, we are just being what Hashem wants us to be- a beautifully imperfect human.

Shaya had this motto of raising a person above the sin, always viewing the other person in such a high esteem. Shaya lived and breathed this every second of his life. Always trying to find the good in every person no matter how far they may have strayed from the path. May we all try to find the good in everyone we meet, and thereby bring an aliya to Shaya’s Neshama.] {A special thank you to Ari Blum of London, for compiling the Reb Eli classics where I saw this concept from Reb Eli.}

Forward to a friend 
To be added to the weekly Dvar Torah list please email

Recent Posts