In our generation we are tested in ways unprecedented in history. I speak of the reality when just going out into the street you will encounter immodesty and be bombarded with advertisements that in previous generations would have offended our sensibilities. Unfortunately, we’ve become accustomed to this sad reality.
So in this reality, where we and our children are exposed to every bad thing, our sole place of refuge is our house. We must not allow foreign influences to penetrate the fortress of our homes in any way, shape or form!
If we tell ourselves “Surely we leave the street outside and we don’t bring impurity into our homes” you should know that it may not be so. First of all, many people have internet and don’t filter it properly. But on a more refined level there’s almost no home that doesn’t have some umbrella, school bag, notebook or pencil case with a picture of some little princess even a cartoon that’s not modest according to our standard. Or alternately, some robot or violent looking gun toting image of someone who if he were alive, you’d never invite him into your house!
You may ask yourself: “What’s the big deal it’s only a drawing? Even the best houses have things like this?” About this the Chafetz Chaim says that if the parents are enthusiastic about serving Hashem and are full of passion about it and they watch vigilantly not to let stumbling blocks into their homes then they will merit that their children will also serve Hashem with a passion and warmth. Obviously, passion has to be lived and genuine and you can’t force someone to be passionate about something. Parents must work with intelligence and sensitivity and always seek the advice of their rabbi. But if parents are lukewarm in serving Hashem then their children will be even cooler to the point that everything else out there is attractive to them.
In Parsha Pinchas we find an example of true love for Hashem and deep passion to do his will. Understandably Pinchas’ generation is far different than ours but extreme as he seems, Hashem testifies about him: “Pinchas the son of Elazar the son of Aaron the Priest dispelled my wrath from upon the children of Israel, when he was zealous for me among them and I didn’t destroy the children of Israel in my wrath. Therefore, tell him I will give him my covenant of peace.”
In the Song of Songs there’s a verse that says; “If you will arouse or awaken the love until you desire.” So, if we’re not passionate about serving Hashem with love then perhaps we’re not there yet. When someone is truly in love, he doesn’t look for clever excuses why he missed his appointments and didn’t meet his true love, rather he pays attention to every detail of what his loved one wants. He wants to fulfill the desire of his loved one without fault and he wants to learn how to do this and hopes for closeness with his loved one. If he does so than of its own accord, he will be fulfilling the verse: “Many waters can’t extinguish the love and rivers cannot wash it away.”
By R’ Zamir Cohen
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