Tzav 5768 – Influencing Others

It states in this week’s parsha (8:2) that Moshe should “take Aharon” and Rashi points out that he should take him with kind words to draw him near. Rashi makes this comment numerous places and it is a key to learning how to influence a person to do what you want them to. If a person approaches another person with anger, the other person will not want to do that thing for him. But if a person approaches another person with kindness, the other person will be “putty in his hands”.

I have seen this with my own eyes. I have had to take classes on army bases with men and women in the military. During class, I could see that these people were sharp. They were all very nice and constantly said “yes, sir”. After class, though, once they changed their uniform, they were back to their old, low-life, bottom of the bucket selves. They did whatever they wanted, wherever they wanted. I think a reason might be because they were never taught by their sergeant with kindness. The sergeant always yelled orders at them. Because they had fear of what the sergeant would do to them, they obeyed when they were next to him, but once they left his presence, they went back to their old ways. They did not want to obey what he said.

Rashi is telling us that if we want to influence a person, it is not through fear. In the long run, treating other people with kindness will influence them much more. Yelling and screaming might get the job done quickly, but the consequences are enormous. The person will lose a lot of respect for the one yelling at them and once they get a chance, will do the exact opposite of what this person asks for.

Good Shabbos!
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