Join our weekly Peninim on the Torah list!

זאת התורה אדם כי ימות באהל

This is the teaching regarding a man who would die in a tent (19:14)

Download PDF

It takes only one person to make a change, to alter one’s plans, goals, trajectory towards success. Moshe Rabbeinu and Aharon HaKohen stood at the helm of the Jewish nation. Hashem had selected them to lead Klal Yisrael. One cannot be more legitimate and more authentic than being the personal choice of Hashem. Yet, one person – Korach – disrupted the pristine functioning of this leadership. It takes one student to disrupt a class. One rotten apple in a group can set the tone that undermines the group’s functioning. One malcontent in a shul can infect those willing to listen and, suddenly, a movement is set in motion. Adam ki ymus b’ohel; a man dies in a tent. A perfectly built tent, secure, with all the accoutrements; a house with all of the upgrades; but, if one person “dies” there, the entire tent, house, is contaminated.

A community consists of individuals. We Jews do not live or assess by percentages. In other words, ninety-nine percent is still failure. To say that ninety-nine percent of our Jewish community is doing well, living above poverty level, implies that one percent of our community is living below poverty level. To say that ninety-nine percent of our students are doing well spiritually implies that one percent is not. At the end of the day, that is a failing grade. One person can contaminate a tent. One person can destroy a community. To rest on our laurels, which are based upon percentages, is a sin of omission – omitting the negative percentage which ultimately spells failure.

Subscribe To Our Newsletter

Join our weekly Peninim on the Torah list!

You have Successfully Subscribed!