ערכים - יהדות וסמינרים
Arachim Branches Worldwide Arachim Branches Worldwide
About Us Your Questions Events Pictures Video and Audio Home Articles Donate
Home Articles Weekly Parasha Bamidbar The Power of the Jewish Home
Articles on subject
Zimri ben Salu and The Problem With Tefilin ...
Misunderstood Hero
Violence and the Danger Zone
More in Common
Fighting by the Light of the Moon
More Articles
The Power of the Jewish Home
The walls of every individual home are the pillars that support the sanity and spiritual well-being of the entire culture.

The Power of the Jewish Home

Adapted from Rabbi Moshe Grylak’s “Parashah U’Pishra”

Translated and Adapted by Braha Bender


Balaam chose a mountain with a clear view of the Israelite encampment. His perspective spanned every man, woman, and child of the nation spread below him like a map upon the desert floor, as well as prophetically reaching into the scores of men, women, and children who would form the destiny of the nation throughout history.

What most struck Balaam about these people, his enemy? He noticed the deep respect the Jews gave to each other’s privacy. They set up their homes so that the openings faced away from each other. No one could sit inside their tent and see into another person’s window. They weren’t trying to catch a glimpse into their neighbor’s secrets.

Jewish interpersonal relationships had developed on a plane above the nosy comparisons so common between neighbors, family members, and coworkers sharing a communal space. The Jewish neighborhood-layout system for staggering their tent openings was an expression of an inner integrity, as well, wherein the thoughts of their hearts were not prying into their neighbors’ private lives either. Keeping their eyes in their own space meant not envying a coworker, slandering an in-law, or coveting a neighbor’s remodeled kitchen, beautiful wife, or academic accolades.

These details taken together painted a picture of a uniquely Jewish quality called tznius. Tznius, often translated as modesty, means focusing on the internal, unique, personal identity of a person or group of people rather than the external features or situations they have been given. From the height at which he stood on the Moab Mountains, Balaam was impressed by the sight of tznius at its best, and was compelled to voice this vision:

“How goodly are your tents, O Jacob, your dwelling places, O Israel” (Numbers 24:5).

The walls of every individual home are the pillars that support the sanity and spiritual well-being of the entire culture. The effects of his or her home environment on a child, for example, are far reaching and very deep. When the walls of a home house a bastion of inner harmony, they are a resource of immeasurable significance, as they provide a constant source of strength and well-being for all family members.

Nothing can strike a nation so long as their home lives are entrenched in values and an inward-looking, tznius focus. No one can shake a man who looks inward for satisfaction and doesn’t covet what is not his.

The thing to do, whispered the evil Balaam, is to poison them at the root. Without a foundation, the castle won’t stand. Destroy the peace and sweetness of the family inside by seducing them to look outside at lusty temptations. Then this nation will be just like any other, and we will be able to conquer them. Only then will they will pose us no threat.

The Moabite harlots that Balaam and his ilk later elected for the task accomplished their tragic mission perfectly. Sneaking between the Jewish tents, the woman gradually ripped open their modest weave, and brought the spiritual harmony the nation had developed to violation.

In response, the Israelite tents tottered. Their fortress was trespassed, and they were disoriented. They followed the foreign women and submitted to their idolatrous rites. The Almighty’s chosen people needed to be shocked back to their original sensitivities.

Pinchas (Pineas) saw what needed to be done: Zimri, who seemed to be leading the scandal, had to be stopped outright, in a fashion that would give the nation pause. Someone had to act against the current, and fast.

Pinchas came forward, spear in hand, and killed Zimri and the Midianite harlot in the act as they sinned together. The rampant immorality, and it’s devastating spiritual and physical consequences, ceased instantaneously.

But the violent assassination could just as easily have missed its mark and influenced the perpetrator and the witnesses to further violence, as aggression is born of aggression. In his attempt to restore harmony to his people, Pinchas violated his own boundaries: he killed a fellow man with his own hands. A murderer can not but suffer a harsh spiritual blow; no matter what the justification, violence can destroy a person.

Since Pinchas’s motivations were sincerely for the good of the nation, the Almighty rewarded him with “a covenant of peace” (Numbers 25:14). This covenant offered protection from the natural side effects of violence for everyone concerned, and ensured that the people were influenced in a peaceful way. The Almighty was guiding Pinchas back towards personal harmony, as he had acted so selflessly for the well being of the Jewish nation.

And once again, the Jewish People swung back on even keel, reclaiming their joyful, tznius homes as we have again and again throughout history.

No comments were received this moment
send to a Friend
add comment
Hot Topics - articles
Family Relationships
Child Education
Basics of Judaism
Life and After Life
Wit & Wisdom for Life
Jewish Perspectives
Success Stories
Torah Giants
Weekly Parasha
The Daily Tip
Mysticism and Kaballa
Science and Judaism
Developing Your Personality
Reasons Behind the Mitzvos
Between Israel and the Nations
Faith and Trust
Outlook and Belief
Arachim Activities
Jewish current events
Similar lectures
Parashat Pinchus
Yaakov Svei
About Us |  Contact |  Your Questions |  Events |  Pictures |  Video and Audio |  Home |  Articles |  Donate |  Main Menu:  
Jewish current events |  General Questions |  Story for Shabbos |  ׳׳§׳˜׳•׳׳œ׳™׳” ׳™׳”׳•׳“׳™׳× |  Arachim Activities |  Outlook and Belief |  Sabbath and Holidays |  Faith and Trust |  Between Israel and the Nations |  Reasons Behind the Mitzvos |  Developing Your Personality |  Prayer |  Science and Judaism |  Mysticism and Kaballa |  The Daily Tip |  Weekly Parasha |  Torah Giants |  Success Stories |  Jewish Perspectives |  Wit & Wisdom for Life |  Life and After Life |  Basics of Judaism |  Holidays |  Child Education |  Tefillin |  Family Relationships |  Sabbath |  Pirkei Avot |  Subjects:  
RSS |  More: