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Section:  Avodah   Category: Chanoch L'Naar
Parshas Shoftim: A Little Attention Can Save A Life
When a murder takes place between two cities, the elders of the closer city come to the murder site and perform the mitzva of Eglah Arufa.  They say "Yadeinu Lo Shafchu Es HaDam", our hands did not spill this blood.  The gemara Sotah explains that of course we are not accusing the tzadikim of murder, but if they let someone leave the city without food and proper escort they are responsible for the murder.  Why?

The Gilyon Pninim brings from the Alter MiKelm that when a person is dejected he has less value for his life.  This man who was not treated properly upon departure was less enthusiastic about life and quite possibly did not struggle with his murderer to save himself.  Therefore his blood is on the hands of those who neglected him.

In a radical twist he brings from Rav Yaakov Neiman zt"l in Darkei Mussar the following important lesson on chinuch.  Rav Neiman says that it is not the victim that they are saying they did not let leave without food and escort but rather the murderer.  This person may have needed some attention.  Only when he was treated like a non-entity was he able to stand up in such an audacious manner and callously snuff out the life of another human being.  The Zikeinim are called to declare that they treated every human with respect and no murderer was created by their lack of caring for anyone.

Often when a child acts up, each age with their own mishugas, it is a cry for attention.  One reaction is to scream to stop the idiotic behavior.  A more effective response is to deal with the underlying cause.  With a little child it is quite easy.  All you need to do is give them some attention and then poof, they have totally abandoned what they were doing. With an older child it is more difficult, and the process requires a change in your attitude and hopefully they will return over time.  Either way better to keep giving attention because Mishugas is not easy to make disappear, and can snowball until it results in a tragic ending.

One day we will all be called to task for our children's behavior.  Sometimes we are responsible and sometimes we are not.  Even if we set a sterling example, we will not automatically be off the hook.  The question that will be asked of us is, did we give them enough attention?  Will we be able to stand in front of Bais Din Shel Maala and declare "Yadeinu Lo Shafchu Es HaDam"?  If we cannot then we are accomplices to murder!
RELATED ARTICLES:Alter of Kelm  chinuch  eglah arufah  murder  Parshas Shoftim

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