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    The parashah begins
    with the words (21:1),
    “Say to the kohanim,
    the sons of Aharon and
    say to them…” The
    word “say” is written
    twice in this sentence.
    Rashi explains, “The
    older kohanim should
    train the younger
    kohanim.” “Tell the older
    kohanim… to train the
    younger kohanim” to be
    cautious with the unique
    laws of kehunah.
    This pasuk discusses
    chinuch, the way the older kohanim should
    train the younger ones. Therefore, we can
    glean from this section guidance in chinuch
    A primary rule of chinuch is to be a role
    model. More than with words, parents teach
    by being a good example. We can learn this
    from Avraham Avinu, as it states (Bereishis
    18:7), “Avraham ran to the cattle, took a tender
    and good calf, and gave it to the youth who
    hurried to prepare it.”
    Rashi writes that the lad was Yishmael.
    Avraham wanted Yishmael to prepare the meat
    for the guests to train him to do mitzvos. But
    Avraham himself brought the calf. He didn’t

    send Yishmael to bring the cattle; he only had
    him prepare it. This is because the best way to
    educate children is by example. Yishmael saw
    his father rush to get animals for the guests and
    then Yishmael, too, prepared them quickly (as
    it states “he hurried to prepare it”). He learned
    from his father’s example.
    B’derech remez, we can say that Rashi is
    hinting at this lesson when he writes (21:1)
    “Lehazhir Gedolim Al Hakitanim. This can be
    translated as, the adults’ deeds and their good
    ways should shine and influence the younger
    This is why the masechta on good middos is
    called Pirkei Avos, Chapters of the Fathers. It
    is called Avos, “Fathers,” because one of the
    primary ways to train children is when the
    parents act how they want their children to
    Chazal (Bava Kama 97:) say, “What coin did
    Avraham Avinu have? There was an old man
    and an old woman on one side of the coin and
    a lad and a girl on the other.” The old and the
    young are on two sides of the same coin to
    indicate that the young are influenced by the
    old. They are on the same coin because the
    youth learn from those who are older than
    It states (Bereishis 12:3), “All families of the
    earth shall bless themselves through you.”
    Rashi explains that this means people will

    want their children to be like Avraham Avinu.
    Rashi writes, “A father says to his son, ‘You
    shall be like Avraham.’” It is explained that
    parents want to live like Avraham’s father,
    Terach, and do whatever their hearts desire,
    and expect their children to be righteous. They
    tell their children, “You should be like
    Avraham, but not me.” It doesn’t work that
    way. If parents don’t improve their ways, they
    can’t expect their children to be better than
    Reb Yaakov Galinsky zt’l told the following
    A poor non-Jew was jealous of the poor
    Yidden, who went around the shuls during
    davening collecting money. So, one day, he
    decided to wear Jewish clothing, pretend he
    was a Yid and do the same. It was a financially
    wise decision because he earned some money
    each day during the tefillos.
    One day, he heard one of the collectors
    announce, “Raboisay! I’m a ger tzedek. The
    Torah says forty-eight times that one must love
    converts!” Everyone gave him generously.
    The non-Jew saw that this announcement
    helped the Yid earn more money, so he began
    making this announcement as well. In every
    beis medresh, he announced that he was a ger
    tzedek, and people gave him generously.
    One day, he heard one of his fellow collectors

    announce, “I’m a descendant of the Baal Shem
    Tov zt’l.” He noticed that people gave him
    more money in honor of his illustrious
    So, the goy decided to try this out as well. He
    announced, “I’m an einekel of the Baal Shem
    Tov, and I’m a ger tzedek, too.”
    He was quickly banished from the beis
    Reb Yankele Galinsky zt’l says that the same
    is when parents tell their children to act a
    certain way, but they themselves don’t practice
    what they preach. They are contradicting
    themselves, so their words are ineffective.
    Teaching by example is essential, but it is
    even better when words accompany these