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February 27, 2015

Be (in)credibile

by Rabbi Dovid Felt

On the top ten list of what parents and teachers have to watch out for is not losing their credibility. When a parent threatens a child with a consequence and doesn’t follow through or when they make a promise and can’t carry it out – they lose credibility. That leaves a child without the security he needs from his parents. It also results in children having diminished respect for their parents. Both the need for security and the need to respect one’s parents are critical in a child’s development.

The Torah highlight the importance of maintaining credibility even in a situation that appears to be harsh. Parshas Tezaveh is unique in that from the first time Moshe Rebbenu’s name is mentioned in the Torah, his name continues to appear in each parsha until the final Parsha of Vezos Habroacah. Yet, in this weeks Parsha Moshe’s name is not mentioned at all. The commentaries explain that after the sin of the golden calf Hashem wanted to destroy the  Bnei Yisroel, Moshe had to plead with Hashem to the extent that he begged Hashem to forgive them and if not “than erase my name from the Torah” (Shmos 32:32). Once Moshe made that declaration to be erased from the Torah even though Hashem did forgive Bnei Yisroel however, because of the rule “Tzadik Gozer V’Hashem Mekayaim” that what a righteous person decrees Hashem fulfills – his pronouncement to be erased from the entire Torah had to be at least, partially fulfilled.

The source in Tanach for the rule “Tzadik Gozer V’Hashem Mekayaim” is from Shmuel Hanavi (Shmuel 1 Perek 9). When Shmuel became the next Judge after Eli, Hashem fulfilled every request made of Shmuel by the Bnei Yisroel, no matter how mundane it was. Hashem did this in order to bolster Shmuels credibility as the leader of Bnei Yisroel.

For a leader, for a teacher, for a parent ensuring credibility allows them to guide and inspire their charges which is why HKBH was ready to perform open miracles even though the people were not deserving of it. Our lesson is first to make sure that we don’t do anything that will give our children reason to lose their faith and trust in us. The second is to go out of our way to do things that will bolster their belief in who we are and what we represent.


Felt Tips

How to achieve credibility? The first step is integrity – let your children see you stick up for something that you believe in. Then become an expert, take the areas that are meaningful to you and become an expert in them. Be transparent – talk openly about these areas; how and why they are so meaningful to you. Be calm – above all never lose it, never show that you have lost control. Whether you are dealing with your children or with others, being respectful and courteous are a must. Each of one of these points can be elaborated on but just knowing them and starting to act on them will help you become an incredible parent.

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