Thursday, November 13, 2008
Rejection Leads to Going Off the Derech
In the 5th aliya in Parshas Vayeira, Hashem assures Avraham that Sorah's counsel that he should expel Yishmael and Hagar from their home is correct. Then, Breishis 21:14 says that "וַתֵּלֶךְ וַתֵּתַע, בְּמִדְבַּר בְּאֵר שָׁבַע." "She [Hagar] went and wandered in the desert of Be'er Sheva." Rashi is bothered by the order of the pasuk which says that Hagar "went" and then "wandered." Rashi comments, quoting Pirkei D'Rebbi Eliezer, that she wandered back to the idolotry of her family.
It occured to me that despite the fact that in this particular instance, the rejection she experienced was warrented, Rashi is also saying that the natural result of being rejected by people is turning away from Hashem as well.
When a child is expelled from Yeshiva for less than l'shem shomayim reasons, or when a child is driven out of his or her own home, or when a boy or girl feels rejected as not being good enough by the parents one expects unconditional love from, even if they are never "kicked" out of their home, that kind of rejection leads one in the direction of wandering away from Hashem as well.
If we would know by a clear nevuah from Hashem that the consequences of such a rejection are warrented, as Avraham did, then it would be worth the cost. But none of us are getting such Nevuahs. We don't have to approve of the bad things that our children or our students do, but we must not reject or expell them as people. Otherwise they may go the route of Hagar, and turn not only from their families, but from Hashem as well, rachmana l'tzlan.
We have been writing a lot about what causes people to go off the Derech and I think Rashi's insight here is quite on point.
(B"H, though, Hagar [Rashi Breishis 25:1] and Yishmael [Rashi Breishis 25:9] both did Teshuva!)
P.S. See Shirat Devorah's related post, which also links to this one for a great story with Reb Zusha and Reb Elimelech and the story that led to their birth.
(Picture courtesy of elearning2)
Click here to get Dixie Yid in your e-mail Inbox or here to subscribe in Google Reader.