Vaera 5774 – A Successful Drug Addict

And Hashem spoke to Moshe and Aharon and he commanded them about the Children of Yisrael and about Pharoah, king of Egypt. (Shemos 6:13)

The Talmud Yerushalmi (Rosh HaShana 3:5) states that Hashem commanded Moshe and Aharon to speak with the Bnei Yisrael regarding the mitzvah of freeing slaves in the Jubilee Year. It seems a little strange to be commanded regarding this right now because they would not have this law until after they entered Eretz Yisrael, which wouldn’t be for many years. Rabbi Chayim Shmuelevitz offers an explanation why they were commanded regarding this law now. They were suffering as slaves – Hashem was saying that remembering when they were slaves will make the Jews immediately free their slaves. One might want to hesitate to free his slave because he will lose a worker. But when the Jews remember that they suffered as slaves, they will immediately let their slaves go free.

I once heard a famous Rabbi tell the following story. He was once asked to speak at a drug rehab center. He is an inspiring and exciting speaker so the rehab center thought he would help those in who were at the center. He was not very successful though. The young adults at the rehab center could not connect with the Rabbi. When this Rabbi returned home, he had an idea. He called a friend of his who is a very successful businessman that used to be a drug addict. He asked his friend to speak at the rehab center. The friend at first wondered why this great Rabbi was asking him to speak, but finally agreed.

The wealthy businessman pulled up in his nice car and all of the young adults at the rehab center stared out the window as the nicely dressed man walked in. The businessman started a conversation with the children and asked what type of drugs they took. They stated which ones and he told them that he also used to take those drugs. He said he took other ones also which were more dangerous. The young adults were amazed. The businessman then said that twenty years ago he turned around his life and has been clean since then. He went into business and became very successful. He then showed them his $3,000 watch. The drug addicts were positively affected by meeting this businessman and they were inspired to clean up themselves. If this man could be successful so could they .

People need to go through the events in their life for a reason. Sometimes we wonder why we go through difficulties, but Hashem has put us through this hard time so we can learn a lesson from it and teach it to others. The Jews were told about freeing slaves while they were slaves so they could learn the lesson of caring for slaves. When we go through something in our life, we should realize it is for a reason.

Good Shabbos!
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