Advertising is the touchstone of contemporary society. The art of advertising is not to sell a product. It is to sell to people a perception of themselves which will result from buying the product. Maybe the little blue stripes will keep your teeth looking brighter. Maybe they won't. What sells the produc,t however, is not the promise of brighter teeth; it is the lifestyle of people who have brighter teeth. As we all know, people with brighter teeth are never unhappy. They never feel tired. They flit effortlessly from one party to another. They jetset across the world without a bank manager or a mortgage in sight. And all for the price of a tube of toothpaste. Now that's what I call value for money!
In an age where illusion has become reality, where people send wreaths to TV stations when soap-operas stars "die" and are written out of the script, selling the Brooklyn Bridge has never been easier. All you need is a lot of money. And airtime.
The truth, however, sells itself. It doesn't need to be trumpeted to the skies. Nothing is more infectious than the truth.
There is a Jew who sits in a most frugal apartment in Jerusalem. He has never made any television appearances. He has never been interviewed on any chat show. No one has ever advertised him. And yet the Jewish world beats a path to his door when it needs a halachic decision. His status and fame come entirely from his piety, plus the fact that, in most areas of Judaism, he knows the law better than anyone else. And everyone else knows it.
In the Beit Hamikdash, the ketoret — the service of burning the incense — was performed away from public eyes, in private. Yet its scent could be detected as far away as Jericho, over twenty miles away.
When a person puts all his effort into living correctly, in accordance with the truth of the Torah, then, even though he may not broadcast his virtues, the nation will seek him out. His life may be a quiet understatement, but all his actions will radiate inner purity and holiness like a beacon.
Of Olives And Oil
"And you shall take pure pressed olive oil for illumination" (27:20)
The Jewish People are like the olive: Just as the olive only yields its oil after it has been crushed and squeezed, so too the Jewish People reveal their true stature only after suffering oppression.
And just as oil cannot mix with any other liquid, but rather floats above it, so too the Jewish People never vanish into the melting pot. And most remarkably, despite being persecuted and subjected to the most severe ordeals, the Jewish People always rise above their oppressors and remain distinct from them.
"And now, you shall command the Children of Israel..." (27:20)
From the description of his birth in the beginning of Sefer Shmot (Exodus) until Sefer Devarim (Deuteronomy), Moshe's name appears in virtually every Torah portion. Actually in every portion except one. This week's portion. The Vilna Gaon explains that Moshe died on the seventh of Adar and this date usually falls in the week of Parshat Tetzaveh. Just as Moshe was removed from the world during this week, so his name was "removed" from the portion of this week.
Where's Moshe? Part 2
The words of a tzaddik reverberate. They are like the ripples of a pond that travel outward and are felt even on a distant shore.
After the Jewish People had been unfaithful to G-d in the incident of the golden calf, Moshe pleaded with G-d. He said, "Erase me from Your Book that You have written." Moshe asked that he, rather than the Jewish People, should be eradicated. Even though Moshe spoke out of total self-sacrifice, nevertheless, his words made an impression, and it is for this reason that his name was "erased" from the Torah portion.
- Silent Broadcast - Rabbi Moshe Feinstein
- Of Olives And Oil - Tzror Hamor
- Where's Moshe - Vilna Gaon, Ba’al HaTurim, Nachal Kadmonim in Iturei Torah