Nachamu, Nachamu: No, You're Not Seeing Double!

Rabbi S. Weiss,

Judaism Rabbi S Weiss.JPG
Rabbi S Weiss.JPG
Arutz 7

Many explanations have been given for the repetition of the word, "consolation" in the Haftora. The most popular suggestion is that it refers to each of the Batei Mikdash that were destroyed. But here is another thought:

In our Sedra, Moshe charges the nation to adhere to all the laws & Mitzvot which Hashem has given us. He then adds, somewhat curiously, "And you shall do that which is yashar vehatov - straight and good - in the eyes of G-d."

Now, if we are already following the Mitzvot, doesn't it stand to reason that we are doing that which is "straight and good?" What is Moshe adding by this phrase?

The Ramban clears things up: In addition to doing all that Hashem commands, we must be sure, in each and every situation, to act in a way of which G-d would approve.

To do the right thing, even if we haven't explicitly been commanded about it. To use our sechel, common sense, and ask ourself, "Is this the way G-d would want me to act, even if He hasn't specifically told me so?"

This - the "elastic clause" of Judaism - may be its most important precept: We - all of us - represent G-d, and holiness; we must conduct ourselves in a way that promotes G-d and projects Kedusha. It may not be written anywhere, but we must develop an inner instinct that guides us.

I share with you a story that has inspired me for man years. When the distinguished Rabbi Rafael Grossman  was a young man, recently married, he was walking
home from shul in New York one Shabbat morning when he & his friends came upon a traffic accident. A woman had been hit by a car and was lying in the road, bleeding.

Instinctively, without pause, Rav Grossman ran to the woman, taking off his Talit & covering her until the paramedics came. The poor woman, alas, died, and the medics handed the rav back his Talit, now covered with blood.

Suddenly, Rav Grossman was overcome by fear. "There is no eruv here! I carried on Shabbat! And I destroyed my Talit helping this (non-Jewish woman)!" He draped the Talit over his shoulders & ran to his rebbe, to ask if he had committed a terrible sin.

The rebbe put his arm around the young man & said, "Rafael, your Talit will accompany you in life, & even beyond. You will no doubt do great things while inside
that Talit, but I believe you will never bring as much holiness to it as you did today, when you placed it upon that poor, dying woman.

You did ha-yashar vehatov, & that is exactly what Hashem asks of you."