- When the Jewish People reached the border of the land of Edom, separating them from their destination, Moshe attempted to persuade the Edomites to let the Jews pass peacefully. When Edom repeatedly refused, the Jews chose a roundabout route rather than confrontation, since God instructed them not to fight against their brother Edom (Esav). It is sometimes the case that a distant relative will suddenly appear seeking assistance of some sort. Is there a greater obligation to help a relative than a stranger? If so, how close must a relative be to invoke that special obligation? The converse situation is where there is an ancient enmity between two families. Do children have a responsibility to their parents to maintain family feuds? If so, for how many generations does that responsibility hold? Do they have a responsibility to find ways to end those feuds?
- Following the death of Miriam in the fortieth year the people experience a crisis, and heap blame on Moshe for dragging them on a journey to nowhere. Moshe, exasperated, loses patience with his impatient people, and eventually ends up banned from entry into the Promised Land as a result. It is often the case that one wrong sparks another, leading to an escalating cycle. When is it appropriate to stand on principle, and when is it appropriate to step up to end the cycle, even at the risk of the appearance of losing dignity?
link to lookstein.org