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Shabbat Parashat Korach 5777

Ein Ayah: Responsibilities Based on Different Modes of Influence

(condensed from Ein Ayah, Shabbat 5:14)

Gemara: Whoever is capable of protesting [against the sins of] the members of his household and did not protest is held responsible for their actions. The same is true in regard to the sins of the people of his city and those of the entire world [if he failed to protest according to his ability].

 

Ein Ayah: There are special personal abilities that correspond to a certain need, whereby an ability actualizes something with potential to bring a benefit or remove a lacking. There can then be a connection between two things that are ostensibly unrelated but are really the power that is able to bring good benefit to that which needs improvement.

When the ability that was created for a specific purpose does not fulfill its goal, a destructive force is created. This phenomenon transcends the personal level to the realm of a family, an ethnic sub-group, or even a very broad collective. Sometimes there is interconnectedness between apparently opposing elements, but the opposing element is just by chance, whereas actually they form one positive joint goal.

There is a great difference between righteousness and evil. Evil is interested in causing action and change, and righteousness will then make due with stopping the evil process. “Hashem, do not allow the evil person to have his desire” (Tehillim 140:9). When righteousness is successful in curtailing the tendency toward evil, life becomes complete. The tendency to break out and destroy is part of the powers of life, and when it is properly contained, the result is a life full of grandeur and sanctity.

Whoever has the power to stop injustice should see himself as a partner of the one who contains the life power but needs guidance. When he fails to do his job, he loses the element that corresponds to the action he is connected to. There will be, by necessity, a negative impact from his lack of positive influence, directly opposing the positive that could have come out if he had utilized his strengths. The greater the strength, the greater the negativity from not using it. There is no power in the world that cannot be connected to a negative outcome, for everything has needs, both physical and spiritual. The lack of action is not just a wasted opportunity to gain but causes the one who failed to be considered guilty of active destructiveness.

There are many ways to influence. There is natural influence that comes from natural connections, which the person possessing the positive can use in a blessed manner. There is emotional influence, which is made possible by friendship and regular interaction. The greatest ability to influence is intellectual. One who possesses abilities in natural influence can do so within the family setting. If he does not do so, he is punished for the sins of the family. Only because the situation was handled wrong was there a problem, as that which went wrong could have been the basis for positive things.

Someone who is more advanced and can influence based on emotional connections is capable of impacting the people of his city. When he does not protest sin, good emotions come out wrong, and they cause wild damage instead of being contained in “storage houses like silos and mills.” The highest level is one who has a great enough mind to impact with his intellect. He is responsible for protesting to the whole world. In order for the world to produce one great person, his surroundings need to possess many powers, great ones and minor ones, positive ones and even bad ones. The bad ones and the incomplete good ones need a unique person to straighten them out with the strength bestowed to him from Hashem. If he does not do so, he is responsible for sins emanating from all over the world. Whoever can impact so broadly has responsibilities of great breadth.
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