One of the greatest tragedies of our times is when every once in a while a young man or women makes a decision to walk away from generations of tradition, from years of education, from the love and encouragement of his or her parents to embrace a way that our fathers did not know. We watch in bewilderment when children from the best families and communities leave the fold.
Who are these children? Are they the rough and tough kids that make us feel like crossing the street when we see them? Are they the poor students who just didn’t understand? Are they intellectually challenged? Are they abused children? Are they the behavioral problems?
It’s not so simple.
Over the years I have worked with hundreds of these young men and women. It has been my experience that many of them are the sweetest, gentlest, most sensitive, and sometimes the brightest children around. Because of their non-aggressive nature they don’t easily say no. They don’t aggressively argue their point and sometimes don’t have the koach to stick to their guns and resist peer pressure.
If I’m right, this changes everything. It changes all the programs and all the attitudes.
The spies were ready to investigate the Land of Israel. Moshe was rightfully worried. What would they say? Are they second guessing G-d? Will the entry in to Israel be delayed? Will man slander G-d?
He called over Hoshea, his closest disciple and changed his name to Yehoshua. His reason – it was a prayer. “May G-d save you from the plot of the spies.” Astonishing! If anyone of the spies needed a prayer it was not Yehoshua. Yehoshua never left the tent of Moshe! Yehoshua was a holy soul destined for leadership!
Yet it was the very greatness of Yehoshua that frightened Moshe. He knew Yehoshua was a listener. He knew he was open to everyone’s ideas. He knew that he wasn’t a Baal Machlokes. Yeshoshua was a student at risk. So Moshe prayed, “May G-d save you from the plot of the spies.”
The message is Earth shattering: When you see a problem in a child, a grandchild or a friend’s child, it is quite possible that beside for having a problem on your hand – you may have a godol on your hand.
You might be dealing with the next Yehoshua Bin Nun!