Disrespectful Disposal by Yonah Rossman


Many bizarre events mark the Parshiyot of Sefer Shemot, imparting an important lesson.  Parashat Yitro teaches us that a ramp, not stairs, is used to reach the Mizbeiach’s top, lest one disgrace the Mizbeiach.  We see that one must have respect even for inanimate objects.  Moshe had this quality, as he did not hit the dust or water during the first three Makkot, since they had saved his life (see Rashi to Shemot 7:19).  This trait also is seen in Yaakov when he went to retrieve his pitchers (see Rashi to Bereishit 32:25) out of respect; for showing this respect, he was given leadership.  All these events are connected by an idea in Midrash Tanchuma, quoted by Rashi, which teaches that respecting non-human objects leads to respecting other people, and only then, when one respects others, can he become a leader.  Rabbi Abraham J. Twerski said that he once had a pen for thirty years, and felt a great loss upon losing it; nowadays, people feel no connection to inanimate objects, disposing of them at their will.  Unfortunately, this disrespect extends to other people, since when there is a problem in a relationship, some people dispose of their partner to find another.  BeEzrat Hashem, by taking small steps, we will all be able to achieve greatness simply by showing common courtesy.

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