Say thanks to the orchestra

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Translation by Yehoshua Siskin

Thousands of students and their families came last night to the Binyanei HaUmah auditorium to salute Rabbi Baruch Chait, head of the Maarava Machon Rubin yeshiva, for his many years in education.

Two things that Rabbi Chait said in his speech grabbed me: "One person cannot do everything alone. This evening I looked on stage at the conductor of the orchestra, Yuval Stopel. He's the conductor, but he must have an orchestra. Without the musicians, he is just a curious man who waves a stick. So to am I. Without students, their parents, and our staff of educators, I am just a curious man who waves a stick."

And before Rabbi Chait began thanking all those gathered in his honor, he explained the fundamental principle behind saying thank you: "We read in parashat Bereishit that the sin of Adam is not just eating forbidden fruit from a tree, but rather in not saying thank you. When God asks Adam why he ate, Adam answers: 'The woman you gave to be with me - she gave me from the tree and I ate'. Rashi writes: 'Here he (Adam) showed his ingratitude.' In other words, Adam blames both the woman and God for what he did instead of thanking them. When it comes to character traits, an attitude like Adam's is a big problem. When we know how to give thanks, to recognize goodness, we rectify his sin."

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