Moshe Rabbeinu Passes the Grape Juice

Moshe Rabbeinu Passes the Grape Juice

Dovid haMelech had a son named Kilav. When his name came up in Shiur, none of the talmidim recognized his name and all were quite confident they had never heard of him before. I asked them, “Do you think he was a hero”? They looked at me blankly and responded that if he were a hero, they certainly would have heard about him. After asking for suggestions about who in Jewish History could be considered heroic, we came up with a list of names. Kilav was not on it. Neither were Binyamin (Yaakov’s son), Amrom (Moshe’s father), or Yishai (David’s father). In the discussion about forming this list, no one mentioned any of these incredible individuals.

And incredible they certainly were! The Gemara tells us that in the entire history of Klal Yisroel only four people died without having committed an aveira: Binyamin, Amrom, Yishai, and Kilav. Shouldn’t we have thought of them?! Shouldn’t they be first on everyone’s list of Jewish Heroes?!

Well, the answer is; no, not at all!

Imagine someone sitting at a kiddush, and his neighbor asks him to pass the grape juice [or herring]. If he’s polite and complies – nu nu, he might occasionally spill it on himself (or worse someone else) and stain his shirt. But usually that doesn’t happen, and hey, he’s passing the grape juice.

Someone who never spilled the grape juice at a kiddush probably hasn’t passed it much either.

In Yiddishkeit, we don’t look up to “Saints.” We look up to normal, fallible human beings who rose above their circumstances and were able to transcend their difficulties and mistakes and become great. In fact, the Gemara’s account of Binyamin, Amrom, Yishai, and Kilav being the only four yidden in history never to have done an aveira is teaching us something profound. The rest of us, meaning all the rest of Klal Yisroel in all of history, will do aveiros. The Gemara is teaching us and being mechazek us that aveiros, or to use a broader term, mistakes, are a natural part of trying.

Rabbi Wolhendler