Parashat Pinchas: Fix Yourself and Then Fix Others

[Tal Chermon, p. 448 based on the book "Nivi Zahav" of Ha-Rav Zev Gold]

When Maran Ha-Rav Kook visited America to raise money for the yeshivot in Eretz Yisrael and Europe, one of the Rabbis asked during a reception: Why isn't Ha-Rav more of a zealot? Maran Ha-Rav Kook answered at length, recalling a story about a great Torah scholar and ethical person: "He once came to his Rabbi and said that he wanted to perfect the world through the Almighty's kingdom. His Rabbi said to him: Go, my son, and may Hashem help you. He went and tried, but was unsuccessful. The world remained as it was. He came to his Rabbi a second time to lament the lack of blessing in his actions. His Rabbi asked him: My son, have you already spiritually repaired your country and your homeland that you are now concerned about repairing the entire world? He took the hint and attempted to fix his country. But he also failed; no one listened to his voice. He returned to his Rabbi and related his new failure. His Rabbi said to him: My son, have you spiritually repaired your city? Why should you begin with a whole country? This wise man listened to him and turned to repairing his city, but the residents of his city also do not obey him. His Rabbi said to him: My son, have you already fixed your household? He realized that he was correct, and so he attempted to repair the members of his household. But they also did not listen to him. When he returned to lament before his Rabbi, the Rabbi said: My son, perhaps you did not fix yourself. Go and worry – first and foremost – about your own soul. After you are certain that you have repaired everything, and that you have no blemishes at all – then the members of your household will see and learn from your ways, and they will be an example for the city, and the city for the country and the country for the entire world. This needs to be the path of a person who desires to spiritually repair others."