In Shuls throughout Chutz Le’oretz (the diaspora) the Sidrah (Torah portion) we read this week begins with the gripping episode of Korach challenging the authenticity of Moshe Rabeinu's leadership, bringing into question whether Moshe was truly a selfless transmitter of the word of Hashem. Korach's accusations of nepotism were dramatically proven false as he and his cohorts were swallowed alive by an earthquake.
Rabbi Shraga Kallus of Yerushalayim asks a question. The Talmud Bavli (Sanhedrin 109b) relates that even though one of Korach's initial coup supporters was Oin the son of Peles, he ultimately backed out and was saved from death due to the sharp witted intervention of his wife.
The Talmud tells us that she persuaded her husband to back out of the revolt by reasoning with him that either way he was not going to gain. If Moshe won the argument, then Moshe and his brother Aaron would remain the top leaders. If not, then Korach would get the kovoid (honor and glory). But Oin would not gain status either way. Oin the son of Peles HEARD his wife and listened to her. He was thus saved.
The Talmud then goes on to extoll the wisdom of Oin's wife by saying that when King Solomon declared (Mishlei 14) חַכְמ֣וֹת נָ֭שִׁים בָּנְתָ֣ה בֵיתָ֑הּ - Wise women build homes, he was referring to the wife of Oin.
Now here is the question. What was so incredibly wise about what she did? Wasn't it just common sense?
Rabbi Chaim Shmulevitz zt"l explains: When you are in the middle of a machlokes, an argument, even things that are simple and obvious don't necessarily register. You need to have the greatest Chochmoh - Wisdom to get the obvious to actually register with someone who is embroiled in a dispute.
As many of us have been blessed to see, when we gain an appreciation of the 3 Principles, when we truly understand that our experience of anything comes from our own thinking, our own subjective perception, from inside us, via the Power of Thought, we gain a chance to be honest with ourselves and the feelings we feel and the reality we see.
Ideas of blame begin to look illogical. Emotions of hurt, upset and frustration fall off our minds - naturally. In the space left behind we have an open mind which allows for the emergence of understanding, compassion, and surprisingly, love. And thus we are zoicheh (merit) Be'H, to keep away, much more easily, from the seeds of machlokes (disputes of ill-will).
Sarah (name changed) used to characterise her relationship with her daughter-in-law as very strained. This underlying ill-will also affected her relationship with her son, and she rarely got visits from them or her grandchildren.
As she learnt more about the 3 Principles she began to comprehend that the way she experienced her daughter-in-law was a reflection of her own thought. This learning changed the way she related to her own feelings about her daughter-in-law which naturally changed the way she acted and spoke to her daughter-in-law.
In turn, she noticed that her own changes rubbed off on how her daughter-in-law saw and felt and responded back to her. This led to an a totally organic transformation - a turn around in their relationship; she got to see them much more often, and it was always so much more pleasant and connective. And she felt she had her son back again too!
As we learn about the way our minds work, how our experience gets created, it will have natural implications in our lives. While learning about the principles, you won't hear advice on how to stop fighting, or advice about how to be nicer.
But you will learn something very basic about yourself and others. This learning of basics will naturally change the way you understand relationships and how to communicate and connect with those who are otherwise wrapped up in their subjective reality (including yourself!)
As I and many others have found, this learning will help you and those around you find a nicer life.
(Stamford Hill, London)