Arvus! How Sweet It Is!
Contrary to popular opinion, a selfish person is not someone who sells fish. It’s someone who cares only about themselves. Being selfish may feel great and be the easy thing to do for the moment, yet, in the long run, helping others is a lot more rewarding. That rewarding feeling is sooooo sweet!
Now, for you Hebrew experts:
Our Sages say, “Kol Yisrael Areivim Zeh LaZeh” (every Jew is responsible one for the other). “Areivim” has another translation – “sweet.” Indeed, it’s really a sweet deal!
The great Spanish Torah Sage, Rabbeinu Bachya (1255-1340) takes this one step further:
The word Arvus is related to one of the four species of Sukkos – called Aravah, the willow. Indeed, Aravah is the best example of Arvus. You see, each of the four species represent a different type of Jew. The Esrog, which has a good taste and smell, symbolizes the highest level – a Jew who achieved a lot of Torah knowledge and Mitzvos. Yet the Aravah, without a good taste or smell represents the lowest level of a Jew – not much Torah and hardly any Mitzvos.
So, is an Aravah important?! It sure is! If someone has the three kinds (Lulav, Esrog and Hadas), but is missing the Aravah, it’s not 75% Kosher… it’s 100% not Kosher!
That’s why Arvus is so important. It may be challenging to care for an “Aravah” type Jew, but it’s super-important! And let’s not forget – when someone succeeds in a really difficult task, it’s truly rewarding and SWEET!