The Curing Power of Pain by Josh Michael


 “VeHikritem Lachem Arim Arei Miklat Tiheyenah Lachem VeNas Shamah Rotzeiach Makeih Nefesh BeShegagah,” “You shall designate cities for yourselves, cities of refuge shall they be for you, and a murderer shall flee there- one who takes a life unintentionally” (BeMidbar 35:11).  This Pasuk introduces the concept of Arei Miklat, cities of refuge to which any member of Klal Yisrael who negligently killed another Jew can run.

The Chidushai HaRim gives insight into the concept of Arei Miklat.  He explains that, in most instances, when one man inadvertently kills another, the killer feels extremely guilty.  He is affected to such an extent that he feels that he has nowhere to go in the world.  Thus, by establishing the Arei Miklat, Hashem does this man a true kindness by giving him a place go.  However, if the person does not regret at all, the cities will feel like a trap and the entire experience will not be beneficial.

When someone harms another person, the natural and proper feeling is to be regretful.  The pain motivates one to improve oneself.  If one does not feel pain, then one is exhibiting a lack of feeling and should try to improve.  A balance of guilt and absence of feeling is necessary because through this balance, true Teshuvah is achieved.

A fellow once came to the Steipler Gaon and asked for a blessing to not be convicted on a traffic violation charge.  Instead of giving the blessing, the Steipler told the man that if he did indeed commit a moving violation, he was putting other people at risk and was deserving of the punishment. The person responded that the policeman did it for his honor and the Steipler promptly gave him a blessing.

This story is an illustration of the importance of being mindful of the lives and wellbeing of others and the feeling that one should have if he does mistakenly endanger or injure someone. Especially regarding verbal injury, we should take extra care over the summer months to be mindful of hurting others.

Required Reconstruction by Shlomo Klapper

The Importance of Words by Nati Friedenberg