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 MASEI AND THE THREE WEEKS:

View Complete List

'I Didn't Take Your Spoons!'
Rabbi Yisroel Ciner - 5759

To My Very Last Breath
Rabbi Label Lam - 5772

The Question/Answer Dynamic
Rabbi Eliyahu Hoffmann - 5763

Frumster - Orthodox Jewish Dating

Chazak
Rabbi Pinchas Winston - 5757

Hashem's Will - Protest or Submission
Rabbi Eliyahu Hoffmann - 5764

Collateral Damage
Rabbi Mordechai Kamenetzky - 5762

> Medicinal Treatment
Rabbi Raymond Beyda - 5766

Mourning on the 9th of Av: The Reasons
Rabbi Yehudah Prero - 5757

The Nine Days of Mourning
Rabbi Dovid Green - 5758

ArtScroll

In Other Words
Shlomo Katz - 5764

To Tell You The Truth...
Rabbi Pinchas Winston - 5764

More Generous Thoughts
Rabbi Label Lam - 5764

Looking for a Chavrusah?

Marriage Vows
Rabbi Yochanan Zweig - 5773

The Price Of Choice
Rabbi Aron Tendler - 5761

17th of Tammuz: Why We Fast - Part 1
Rabbi Yehudah Prero - 5758

Your Flattery Will Be The Death of Me
Rabbi Yochanan Zweig - 5771



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