This week we read this Parsha about the Yomim Tovim, one of which is Sukoth. We all cherish a beautiful Etrog.
The Chofetz Chaim once gave a beautiful parable. A simple villager went to the city to buy a beautiful etrog for his Talmid Chochom son-in-law. He was successful and bought a truly beautiful etrog. When he brought it back to his village and showed it to his neighbor, who loved the etrog and instantly offered to buy half the etrog for the price that he paid for the whole etrog. The villager agreed and cut half his etrog and gave it to his neighbor. When he presented the half etrog to his son-in-law, the son-in-law was furious, did not know whether to laugh or to cry. The villager couldn’t understand the reaction, for after all, even the Rabbi there had said it was a truly beautiful etrog! The son-in-law answered, “I wish you brought me a plain etrog that was whole and not a half of a beautiful etrog which is worthless.”
The Chofetz Chaim says that we sometimes find people that are exemplary in their observance of mitzvot between man and Hashem but are sorely lacking in the mitzvot between man and his fellow man, or vice versa. These people are like half of a beautiful etrog, which is worthless.
Like in our parable, a plain but whole etrog is better, so too our mitzvot are better if they are plain but whole, both between a person and Hashem and between a person and his fellow person…
With that in mind, I wish Shabbat Shalom
Rabbi Chaim Michael Biberfeld