Listen to the Babies By Dr. Joel Berman


We have all learned the Mishnah in Avot (4:1) which states, "Eizehu Chacham? HaLomeid MiKol Adam," “Who is wise? One who is capable of learning from anyone." Rav Wolbe a"h, the late Mashgiach of Yeshivat Be'er Yaakov, says in the second volume of his mussar sefer, Alei Shor, that the above-quoted word - "anyone" - is to be understood quite literally. He explains how it takes very little talent to learn from your Rebbe’im, teachers, parents, etc.; people whom you respect. "HaLomeid MiKol Adam," the person who learns from everyone, is that wise person capable of learning even from those people whom he may not hold in such high esteem.

I have a chavrutah who studied at the Be'er Yaakov Yeshivah approximately 40 years ago. He recalled to me how Rav Wolbe was explaining an idea in his shiur (lecture). At the end of the shiur, one of his students asked him what might be learned from a baby. After all, a baby has no experience in life to draw from and teach us. Rav Wolbe  two great lessons that are learned from babies.

Babies don't waste time. They are constantly in motion! They never daydream. When we see babies playing, they are really learning. While most of us would rather pull the blankets over our heads and hit the snooze button on our alarms, most babies wake up raring to go. The day has started!

When a baby is even slightly uncomfortable, he kvetches. From this, we can learn the necessity of Tefillah. Hashem is a micromanager. We need not ask Hashem only for the big things. It's quite proper to ask for help in mundane matters as well.

I would like to offer a third lesson to be learned from babies told to me by my grandson's doctor, Dr. Isaac  Wurzburger. Babies are nonjudgmental. A baby doesn't care if you are Modern, Yeshivish, Lubavitich, or Chassidish. He doesn't care if you're smart, rich, or good at sports. Babies like people that are nice to them.

This year TABC has adopted a theme of "Eizehu Mechubad? HaMechabed Et HaBriot." An honorable person is one who honors others. Perhaps we should take our lead from one year olds.

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