Caution: They’re Looking At You!




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    Caution: They’re Looking At You!

    “There’s no two ways about it. We must be role models. Even without saying a word, our actions speak for themselves. This is true for adults and all the more so for children, who observe their parents’ behavior.” In honor of the first Yahrzeit of Rabbi Levi Paris a”h, we present the following article on chinuch Rabbi Paris once wrote in Beis Moshiach Magazine Full Article

    Chabad Chassidim the world over were shocked and saddened to hear of the untimely passing of the beloved mashpia Rabbi Levi Paris of London, England at only 67 years old, today, last year on Sunday, 26 Adar I 5782.

    Rabbi Pariz was born in 5714 to his parents R’ Baruch and Chasia Pariz and was the grandson of the famous Chassidim Reb Avrohom Paris and Reb Fole Kahan.

    Already a young bochur, he had a koch in the Rebbe’s mivtzaim and inyanim and was especially active in the battle of Mihu Yehudi.

    R’ Levi was a beloved mashpia for many years at Yeshivas Lubavitch in London where he raised hundreds of devoted Chassidim. He was very much active in Mivtza Tefillin and in publicizing the Rebbe’s Besuras HaGeulah in an unbashful manner.

    In honor of the first Yahrzeit, we present the following article on chinuch by Rabbi Pariz from the Beis Moshiach archives.

    May it be l’ilui nishmaso and hasten his return to us with the fulfillment of hakitzu v’ranenu shochnei afar with the hisgalus of the Rebbe now!


    We are waiting each day for the Rebbe to come. Then we can take our children, our students and grandchildren, all of them, to greet him.  He will come together with our Rebbeim, the Chabad leaders, and will say, “See the offshoots I have raised.”  That is what we are preparing for.

    When we speak about these things to Anash, sometimes it’s hard because we have, baruch Hashem, a wealth of sichos from the Rebbe, maamarim, letters, etc., about how to educate children, how to have shalom bayis between a man and wife, between a Jew and G-d, between us and the Rebbe, between ourselves.  Since we have this wealth at our fingertips, sometimes we don’t pay attention…

    One time, a Chassid of the Tzemach Tzedek had a big problem and he had to see the Rebbe.  He came on one of those days when the Tzemach Tzedek did not receive people and the attendant refused to let him enter.  The Chassid pleaded with him, saying he had an urgent problem.  The attendant finally told him that at midnight, the Rebbe’s door was open.  “You can enter and tell the Rebbe your problem, but I won’t be able to bring you in.”

    The Chassid showed up at midnight and saw the Tzemach Tzedek standing near the wall with his face aflame.  With great enthusiasm, with his hands held aloft, the Rebbe said from his Tehillim, “even a bird finds a home,” and translated it into Yiddish, “but you Hashem, still did not find a home…”

    The attendant stood and waited for him.  The Chassid went over to him and said, “Look, look! The Rebbe is in supernal worlds now!”

    The attendant replied simply, “What are you getting so excited about? This happens nearly every night!”

    That’s the way it is when we are accustomed to such spiritual wealth, but it is for this very reason that we don’t appreciate it enough.

    Here is another story that illustrates the fact that when you are up close, you don’t appreciate the bounty you are given:

    My uncle, the chozer R’ Yoel Kahn, traveled a lot to give shiurim in Tanya and Chassidus.  One time, when I was a bachur, he told me that he had invited one of the bachurim, who had begun to learn Tanya and get close to Lubavitch, to attend the Rebbe’s Chai Elul farbrengen.

    The bachur came but R’ Yoel only met him again a while later.  The bachur told him that he had been at the farbrengen and “You have no idea what an Elul I had … what a Rosh Hashana … what a Yom Kippur…”

    When R’ Yoel asked him to explain, the bachur said, “The Rebbe spoke, but I didn’t understand everything.  What I did understand was that the Rebbe said that from Chai Elul until Rosh Hashana there are twelve days, each day corresponding to a month of the year.  On each day you can make up for the corresponding month of the previous year.

    “When I heard this, I began to say the daily brachos and davening properly, knowing that this makes up for an entire month of brachos and mitzvos.  I did everything with ahava and yira.  You can just imagine that with preparations like that for Rosh Hashana, how amazing Rosh Hashana was, and the Aseres Yemei Teshuva and Yom Kippur.  The entire Tishrei was different.”

    I was there at the time and R’ Yoel turned to me and asked me whether I had heard that sicha from the Rebbe too.  I said that I had.  “Were you also inspired?” he asked.

    I felt uncomfortable.  Then R’ Yoel asked me, “Why aren’t we that amazed by what the Rebbe says, as others are?”

    I said that since we always heard these ideas, it had less of an effect on us than someone hearing it for the first time.  R’ Yoel said, “It’s just the opposite.  It’s we who should be much more amazed by everything the Rebbe says since we absorb it far deeper and much stronger.  The fact that we don’t see this is our problem.”

    It is similar to giving a poor man and a rich man a fine meal and taking it away from them before they eat it.  The poor man will be disappointed but will go back to eating regular food, while the rich man will be much more annoyed.  Similarly, the Rebbe’s inyanim are more pertinent to us but sometimes we have to talk about it and remind each other so that we realize it.


    Today, there are compilations that contain all the Rebbe’s instructions and sichos on chinuch and the work is easier.

    There are two principles in conveying a proper chinuch. The first is in speech, literally – to speak to the person you are educating.  The second is being a personal example.  When a mechanech acts a certain way, this makes the greatest impact.

    I would like to expand on this latter point.  What does it mean to be a role model?

    When a person is passionate about a particular thing, that message is transmitted to the children.  When a person is busy with something that is important to him, the children observe this.

    In the school that I work in, the children stopped coming to say Tehillim before davening on Shabbos Mevarchim.  We spoke with the teachers and decided that each of us would speak to our students one Thursday night about the importance of saying Tehillim.  The time set for the gathering was not during regular hours.  Almost no students of one my colleagues showed up while almost all of my students did come.

    When he complained to me, I told him, “I know what your problem is.  You have various reasons for not showing up to shul on Shabbos Mevarchim to say Tehillim the past several months.  The reasons may be good ones but the fact that on Shabbos Mevarchim you are not there in shul, tells your students that it’s really not that important.  What’s the use in all your talk about it when you yourself don’t do it?”

    We say “action is the main thing.”  That means, simply, that you have to act as you believe.

    A few years ago, we went on Mivtza Shofar on Rosh Hashana after the davening and the Yom Tov meal.  I went with a friend to a hospital and it was a forty-five minute walk each way, passing a river and beautiful fields.  We went from ward to ward and found some Jews in each one and all agreed to have us blow the shofar.

    In one ward I found a frum man whom I knew to have a large extended family.  It was before sunset and I was sure they had already blown shofar for him.  I was just going to wish him a “gut Yom Tov” and a “refua shleima,” but added, “I’m sure you heard the shofar already today…”

    When he heard that I had a shofar with me, he began to cry.  He asked for water and washed his hands.  He said all the pesukim and brachos as he cried nonstop.  We blew all the tekios and then left, trying to get to as many Jews as we could before sunset.

    On Sukkos we went back to him.  He had already said the bracha on the lulav.  One of his sons-in-law had brought the minim, but the esrog was not a Calabrian esrog.  Since he had the custom of saying the bracha on a Calabrian esrog, I brought him mine and he was very happy.  The next day, he passed away.

    After Sukkos, I went to console the family. They asked me to tell them what happened on Rosh Hashana with the blowing of the shofar.  I told them how excited he was and how he cried.  I gently added that when I got to his ward I was sure he had already heard the shofar.  The family began to apologize and each one said he was sure that someone else had gone with a shofar.

    On my way home I walked with my neighbor, R’ Moshe Halperin, the son of the mara d’asra of Golders Green in London.  I said, “Moshe, what happened here? Brothers, sons, an extended family, and nobody thought their father had to hear the shofar?!”

    He said, “People don’t think like you.  Only the Lubavitcher Rebbe succeeded in educating people this way.”

    The main thing is action and when a person does the right thing, he broadcasts this to his family – not just to the young ones but to the older ones too.

    About twenty years ago I went with my brother-in-law to the Rebbe on a flight from London to New York.  It was an El-Al flight and we took lulav and esrog with us since we knew that we’d need it on the flight.  After seat belts could be removed, we began to make the rounds of the plane and people were cooperative.  It was a great kiddush Hashem and nearly all the passengers were interested in doing the mitzva.

    When they served the meal, we refused it and learned Rambam and Chitas.  Then we learned a sicha.  At a certain point I got up to walk around the plane a bit.  I saw that a few rows behind me were Satmar Chassidim.  Of course they didn’t wash for bread out of the sukka but they certainly ate.

    One of them offered me his portion of meat since he thought I had refused my portion because of kashrus.  I politely declined.  “Maybe an apple? Some water?” he offered.  I told him we don’t eat outside the sukka.

    “What?! You’re ignoramuses! Don’t you know that when on a trip you are exempt from eating in a sukka?”

    I told him I was aware of that halacha, but our custom is not to eat anything outside of the sukka, even though it is permissible.  “And since we’re talking about halacha, look in Shulchan Aruch and see that if you eat a lot of mezonos with meat, there is a serious question about whether you need to wash.”

    Another Chassid, who sat near him, was more refined. He said, “My grandfather came from Hungary and he did not eat out of the sukka.  We would travel for hours and everybody ate but him, just like you.”

    When I went back to my seat, a Skverer Chassid came over to me and said, “I’m jealous of you.  I saw you busy with the four minim, you didn’t eat the food despite it being halachically permissible, you learned Rambam and a sicha – what a kiddush Hashem! That’s Lubavitcher Chassidim!”

    That’s what it means to be a role model.  Without saying a word, without proving anything, just our actions serve as examples to adults who know how to appreciate a Chassid’s behavior.  All the more so a child who sees his father acting properly, in a Chassidishe way.  He internalizes this as a way of life.


    My father a”h, Rabbi Boruch Pariz, was a role model of how to educate children without saying a word.  I remember I was a young bachur after my bar mitzva.  It was during the summer break and I slept in late.  My father had taught me about the importance of saying the morning Shema on time.  He came back from davening and saw me still in bed even though it was after the time for saying the Shema.

    Actually, I had gotten up earlier, washed my hands to say the Shema and went back to sleep, but he didn’t know that.  I suddenly opened my eyes and saw my father standing and crying.  He didn’t yell and didn’t say a thing, just stood there and cried.

    I asked him why he was crying and he said, “You missed saying Shema.  Even if you say the Shema for the rest of your life you cannot make up for the Shema you missed today.”

    What can I tell you… When you see something like that, not another word needs to be said.

    The same was true in 770.  We saw the fear of the Day of Judgment when the Rebbe came in for Selichos or when the Rebbe came in for Shacharis of Rosh Hashana and brought with him the shofaros and siddurim, and the gabbaim helped carry the bags of panim.  We saw the Rebbe place the tallis on his head and we saw the tremendous seriousness on his face.  Just thinking about this is awesome.

    I had a friend who, when he came to 770, slept with me in a room in the dormitory.  Erev Rosh Hashana he came from Eretz Yisrael and he wanted to see his son whom he hadn’t seen for a year, but his son was sleeping.  The father asked me, “Where is Yankele?” I said that maybe he was still sleeping because he was very tired.

    We went together to his room and he was still sleeping.  As soon as he saw his father he washed his hands and hurriedly got up.  They kissed, as Chassidim do, and then I saw what chinuch is.  The father didn’t chastise him but said a few words I remember till this day.  “Yankele, you were sleeping? Even a fish in the water trembles now because of the Day of Judgment…”  He didn’t yell but spoke as though he was talking to himself.  How could you sleep on Erev Rosh Hashana by the Rebbe? I remember it till this day because it was a deep and powerful remark.

    We must educate ourselves to act accordingly.  If we live as we should, then the way is paved for our children to do the same.  The problem begins with us.

    I’ve been teaching and learning with bachurim for 25 years and I’ve seen a lot.  Even if there are reasons that a child goes off the derech, if he got a good chinuch at home, in the end he goes back to it.  Sometimes I see the opposite.  I see a good bachur from a good home who learns Nigleh and Chassidus and behaves well and davens, but this is not that important to the father.  Years go by and the bachur gets married and he follows in his father’s footsteps, because that’s what he got at home and that’s what remains forever.

    I heard from my brother, Yosef Yitzchok, who lives in Montreal, that they once sat and farbrenged on Sukkos.  Among them was someone who said that 25 year before, he wanted his son to become a gadol in learning and he sent him to a Litvishe yeshiva, where he thought he would be more successful than in a Lubavitcher yeshiva.

    During the Pesach break, his son came home and he saw that his son’s former Lubavitcher classmates were outside, 15-year-old kids playing ball, while his son sat inside and learned Gemara.  He was very proud of his son and thought he had made a good choice of yeshivos.

    Years went by and they all got married.  “What should I tell you,” he sighed.  “I have to say that the kochos of the Rebbeim, especially of our Rebbe, are invested in his yeshivos.”  He went on to say that his son’s entire class had gotten married.  Half of them went on shlichus and worked hard to get another Jew to put on tfillin and get involved in Judaism.  Another quarter of the class had become rabbanim and roshei yeshiva and another quarter of the class had gone into business.

    “I see those in business too.  Today is Sukkos and most of them don’t work on Chol HaMoed.  After davening they went to a nearby old age home and said the bracha on the dalet minim with dozens of seniors.  Some of them went to the hospital and all of them are enthusiastic about the Rebbe’s inyanim.  My son, on the other hand, didn’t become the gadol I wanted him to become, so he is trying to become a “gadol” in money.  All day he sits and thinks about how to make another dollar.  He is a Lubavitcher in how he lives, but it’s different…”


    Chazal say “Whoever says, ‘amen yehei shemei rabba’ with all his might, a decree of seventy years is annulled.”  There are tragedies (it’s scary to hear the news) and there is a way of tearing up a decree of seventy years! What do we see, though? In many minyanim, when the chazan gets up to Ashrei and U’va L’Tziyon, most of the minyan is already finished with Rabbeinu Tam tefillin.  They’re all running out.  What about the Kaddeishim? There are some remaining Kaddeishim to be said and several, “amen yehei shmei rabbas…”

    Once, in my childhood, I was in the old shul in Kfar Chabad and I saw my father standing in the minyan and answering “amen.”  When the minyan was done, he stayed for another minyan and another minyan.  I said, “Abba, come home.  Why are you lingering?”

    He said, “Listen, I just spent a few weeks in the hospital and lost out on so many ‘amens’ and ‘yehei shemei rabbas,’ so I wanted to make up for it.”

    A person is allotted a certain amount of time to live and he wants to live it in good health.  So too, everybody wants their son to grow up to be a Chassid, yerei Shamayim, and a lamdan.  When he sees his son daven with kavana, he is thrilled. So how can he talk during davening? In the middle of Kaddish?! How can we ask our children to grow up not like us? How can we expect them to be yerei Shamayim?

    If we are mechanech ourselves then it will be much easier, and the Chassidishe nachas from our children will be something we will enjoy for years to come.  Indeed, the Rebbe and all the Rebbeim will come and point at us and our children and proudly say, “See the offshoots I have raised.”


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