Which angel are you?

I heard Michal Horowitz reference this piece from Rabbi Yissocher Frand  today and felt I finally have proof positive that what I said many years ago was correct.  I once shared by recollection of what I considered a completely wrong lesson for children back in the days when my kids were small and I participated in a carpool. After she picked up my kid, the mother who was driving that morning got a request from a man who lived nearby. He was walking to the train station but found it difficult because his leg was in a cast, so he asked if she could drop him off there. She said she would take him but wouldn't bring him all the way to the train because she didn't want to go out of the way for the school, lest the kids arrive late.

To me it was crystal clear that this was the wrong thing to do. She should rather have driven him all the way,a nd if the kids would have been late, they could say it was for the sake of an act of chesed. That's positive chinuch in my view, as opposed to the model that says you only help someone to the extent that it doesn't inconvenience you. But I got a number of reactions that said I was wrong, and the mother may have been right because a delay to school entail bittul zman Torah for these kids under 7. That line of reasoning is wrong halachically as well as hashkafically.

Here's Rabbi Frand's take on a parallel situation  in his piece entitled G-d’s Plans Will Happen

A Jew in Europe walked into a shtetl [little village] and saw another Jew walking by. He stopped him and said, “Reb Yid, let me ask you a question.” The Jew responded, “I can’t answer you now. I’m late for shul.” And he ran off. The question the first Jew in fact wanted to ask him is “Where is the shul?”
This second Jew said he was on his way to shul, so the first Jew followed him. When he got to shul, he approached the second Jew who was too busy to listen to his question and said “I have a question for you. In our parsha, it states that Yaakov told Yosef ‘Go now, look into the welfare of your brothers and the welfare of the flock, and bring me back word.’ A man found Yosef blundering in the field and asked him what he was looking for. Yosef told him he was looking for his brothers and asked the man where he might find them. The man responded that he heard them saying they were going to Dosan, so Yosef went after his brothers and found them at Dosan. [Bereshis 37:14-17]
Our Rabbis tell us that this was not a simple man, but it was the Angel Gavriel. In other words, when the Torah said ‘A man found him,’ it was actually the Angel Gavriel out to save him. Now let me ask you a question: In last week’s parsha, when the pasuk said, ‘A man wrestled with him (Yaakov)’ our Rabbis tell us that this ‘man’ was Saro shel Eisav – Eisav’s guardian angel, Sa-mael, an evil Angel. When the Torah uses the word ‘ish’ [man], how do Chazal know whether it refers to a good angel or a bad angel?
The second Jew had no answer. The first Jew responded with an insight attributed to the Sanzer Rav, the Divrei Chaim. After his epic battle with the Angel, Yaakov asked the Angel for a blessing. The Angel responded “I do not have time to give you a blessing. It is Alos HaShachar, time for the Angels to sing Divine Praises to G-d. Leave me alone! Get out of here so I can get back to shul.” [Rashi on Bereshis 32:27] If that is the answer a person receives from a stranger, rest assured that he is speaking to a bad angel. But when someone sees that you are lost and he says “Can I help you?” [Bereshis 27:15], then he is speaking to a good angel – the Angel Gavriel.”

What that mother was showing was how to be a bad angel -- the one who says I care about my kids' coming on time to davening more than helping a fellow Jew with a broken leg get to where he needs to go. I'll help, but only half-heartedly and halfway.

 Related: post on Vayeshev http://kallahmagazine.blogspot.com/2015/12/reuvens-motivation.html


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