The parshiyos provide a weekly reminder of our obligations toward our fellow man. They virtually scream out to us the famous message that Rav Chaim of Volozhin would constantly tell his children: “Man was not created for himself, only to help others!” We are reminded not to be selfish with our material gifts from Hashem, but even more so, we must share our spiritual inheritance as well.
In Parshas Bereishis 4:10, after Kayin murdered his brother Hevel, Hashem tells Kayin, “The blood of your brother screams out from the earth.” The Hebrew word for blood, is written in the plural form in this pasuk - ‘Dmei’ instead of ‘dam.’ Rashi comments on this peculiarity as follows: ‘It is written plural to indicate that his blood and the blood of his descendants screamed out from the Earth.’ Kayin didn’t just murder Hevel, he killed all of the potential offspring as well.
We know that Hashem’s measure of good is 500 times more than for bad (Rashi on aseres hadibros). If that is what happened to Hevel’s potential offspring when Hevel was murdered, imagine how much good can be done by helping others and their future generations.
We must to be cognizant of the fact that when we influence others for good or bad, it has an effect on them and their descendants who will learn from them.
Nicholas Winton was an unheralded man from England who saved hundreds of children from Nazi occupied Czechoslovakia on the eve of WWII. He organized a transport for the children to go to England and set them up in English homes where they grew up. His story was not known until 1988, when BBC invited him to ‘That’s Life!’ which featured his rescue work in Czechoslovakia. The audience members were then asked to stand up if they were saved by Winton. Winton was shocked when dozens of people whom he never knew stood up and thanked him for being their savior. He had not just saved them, but their children and grandchildren as well.
There will come a time when we will all have to stand before Hashem and give an accounting of our life. Imagine the happy surprise we’ll have when we will meet the people whom we positively influenced and then see the effect that this had on their children, grandchildren and subsequent generations.
Rabbi Meir Goldberg is the campus Rabbi for the Meor Rutgers Jewish Xperience. He can be reached at [email protected]