Torah.org Home Subscribe Services Support Us
 
Print Version

Email this article to a friend

Persuasion

By Rabbi Daniel Travis

Reuven heard and determined to save [Yosef] from their hands. “Don’t spill blood...You can throw him into this pit in the desert and you won’t have to lay a hand on him.” His plan was to rescue [Yosef] and bring him back to his father. (Bereshith 37:21-22)

Reuven tried to convince his brothers that he hated Yosef just as they did, and, like them, wanted him killed. He recommended that they put Yosef in a place where he would die without their intervention, rather than being the ones to shed his blood. His real intentions, however, were to return later to remove Yosef from the pit, in order to save his life.1 In doing so, Reuven showed astute persuasion skills, for he felt that were he to state outright that he did not agree that Yosef should be killed, his brothers would reject his opinion out of hand. He thus asked his brothers not to “spill blood,” but he did not try to convince them that Yosef should not die. He pretended to go along with their plan so that they would be more likely to agree to his.2

Often people find themselves in situations in which peer pressure seems to “force” them to do something that runs counter to their personal standards, something they would not otherwise do. At times it is preferable to pretend to go along with the crowd in order to influence the others to improve.

For example, there are those who do not wish to become drunk on Purim, yet others try to convince them to drink more. If someone is asked on Purim if he is drunk, he is permitted to respond in the affirmative even if he is not drunk at all.3 Although there is a mitzvah to get drunk on Purim, this does not mean that one may throw off the yoke of the rest of the mitzvoth.4 A Torah scholar must be especially careful to remain in control, so that the revelry of Purim does not get out of hand and the holiday does not become a day of chaos and pandemonium. For this reason, someone who is sober may say that he is drunk, in order to maintain the spirit of the day without forfeiting his clarity of thought.

Footnotes:

1 Ramban on Bereshith 37:21-22.
2 Rabbeinu Bachyeh.
3 Maharasha, Bava Metzia 23b.
4 Rav Moshe Sternbach, Moadim U’Zemanim 6,109.


Text Copyright © 2008 by Rabbi Daniel Travis and Torah.org


 






ARTICLES ON NETZAVIM AND VAYEILECH:

View Complete List

Why Bring the Children?
Rabbi Yissocher Frand - 5762

It's Never Too Late
Rabbi Pinchas Avruch - 5765

A Person Thinks... and G-d Laughs
Rabbi Yissocher Frand - 5755

> Perceptions
Rabbi Pinchas Winston - 5768

Being Serious
Rabbi Pinchas Winston - 5773

On a Personal Note
Rabbi Yochanan Zweig - 5770

ArtScroll

No Excuse Not To 'Do Teshuvah'
Rabbi Yissocher Frand - 5761

Reading Between The Lines
Rabbi Aron Tendler - 5764

Moshe Rabeinu's Last Day
Rabbi Eliyahu Hoffmann - 5758

Looking for a Chavrusah?

Reflecting Back on Shemittah
Shlomo Katz - 5761

Shofar: The Court Summons
Rabbi Osher Chaim Levene - 5766

Our Leaders Define Us
Rabbi Yochanan Zweig - 5772

Frumster - Orthodox Jewish Dating

The Doors to Teshuva Never Fully Close
Rabbi Eliyahu Hoffmann - 5766

Timely Teshuvah
Rabbi Eliyahu Hoffmann - 5760

Going in the Direction of Teshuva
Rabbi Pinchas Winston - 5761

The Need To Be Warned Against Idolatry
- 5773



Project Genesis

Torah.org Home


Torah Portion

Jewish Law

Ethics

Texts

Learn the Basics

Seasons

Features

TORAHAUDIO

Ask The Rabbi

Knowledge Base




Help

About Us

Contact Us



Free Book on Geulah!




Torah.org Home
Torah.org HomeCapalon.com Copyright Information