The JPS Rashi Discussion Torah Commentary

By Steven; Sarah Levy | Go to book overview

BE-HA’ALOTEKHA

❖ Catching Flies
The old expression “You can catch more flies with honey than vinegar” reflects the fact that people are generally more cooperative when treated with kindness rather than harshness. Parashat Beha’ alotekha alludes to this idea in a verse directed toward Moses.

Take the Levites from among the Israelites and cleanse them.
(Num. 8:6)

Rashi explains how Moses is to “take” the Levites:

Take the Levites: Take them with words: “You are fortunate
that you have merited to become attendants to the Omni-
present.” (Rashi, Num. 8:6)

Rashi explains that Moses has not been instructed to physically compel the Levites to undergo a purification process. Rather, Moses is told to persuade the Levites to partake in this process by praising the importance of their role.In many relationships, particularly those involving an unequal balance of power, such as that of an employer with an employee, the person wielding the power may threaten the other with severe consequences (e.g., firing or suspending precious privileges) should she or he fail to do as requested. While such a threat may be effective in securing the desired short-term result, it simultaneously risks alienating and sapping the threatened person’s good will and motivation. A better approach in an office setting may be to build employees’ self-esteem and give them discretion in how to fulfill important responsibilities. While a supervisor may feel uncomfortable with the lost control engendered by such a strategy, it may nevertheless be the best way to retain the employee and to achieve the company’s long-term goals.
Questions for Discussion
1. Describe a time you were responsible for getting others to do something. What did you find most challenging about this? Did you learn anything from the experience that you have applied (or plan to apply) in the future?
2. What do you think is the preferable approach to parenting—instilling fear or a “kinder, gentler” approach? What are the risks and benefits of both strategies? If you believe a “kinder, gentler” approach is warranted, how would you handle a child who insists on misbehaving?
3. What has been your most fulfilling experience as an employee, and what role did your supervisor play in that experience? What has been your least fulfilling experience as an employee and why?

❖ Retirement

If you believe the roadside billboards in Florida, retirement can be the “golden years” of life, filled with relaxing walks on the beach, scenic games of golf, and moonlit dances under the stars.

-120-

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The JPS Rashi Discussion Torah Commentary
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page v
  • Contents vii
  • Preface xiii
  • Introduction - Introducing Rashi xv
  • Genesis 1
  • Bere’shit 3
  • NoaḤ 6
  • Lekh Lekha 9
  • Va-Yera’ 12
  • Hayyei Sarah 15
  • Toledot 18
  • Va-Yetse’ 21
  • Va-YishlaḤ 24
  • Va-Yeshev 27
  • Mikkets 30
  • Va-Yiggash 33
  • Va-YeḤi 36
  • Exodus 39
  • Shemot 41
  • Val-‘Era’ 44
  • Bo’ 47
  • Be-ShallaḤ 50
  • Yitro 53
  • Mishpatim 56
  • Terumah 59
  • Tetsavveh 62
  • Ki Tissa’ 65
  • Va-Yak’Hel 68
  • Pekudei 71
  • Leviticus 75
  • Va-Yikra’ 77
  • Tsav 80
  • Shemini 83
  • Tazria’ 86
  • Metsora’ 90
  • ’AḤarei Mot 93
  • Kedoshim 97
  • ‘Emor 100
  • Be-Har 103
  • Be-Ḥukkotai 106
  • Numbers 111
  • Be-Midbar 113
  • Naso’ 116
  • Be-Ha’Alotekha 120
  • ShelaḤ-Lekha 123
  • KoraḤ 127
  • Ḥukkat 130
  • Balak 134
  • PinḤas 138
  • Mattot 141
  • Mase’Ei 144
  • Deuteronomy 147
  • Devarim 149
  • Va-EtḤannan 152
  • ‘Ekev 156
  • Re’Eh 160
  • Shofetim 163
  • Ki Tetse’ 167
  • Ki Tavo’ 171
  • Nits Avim/Va-Yelekh 174
  • Ha’Azinu 177
  • Ve-Zo’t Ha-Berakhah 181
  • Subject Index 185
  • Index of Sources 189
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