Legend has it that the city of Vilna was founded many centuries ago through an amazing tale involving a young child. But we have it on no greater an authority than the holy Ben Ish Chai, Rabbeinu Yosef Chayim of Baghdad zt”l, that this story is absolutely true.

Chag HaPesach celebrates the birth of our nation, and it may offer us the key to its continued survival. The korban Pesach, the first sacrifice offered as a nation, underscores the need to create and nurture close familial relationships. Faith exists in the intellectual realm, but it comes alive in community, when families unite around common causes. Perhaps that is why one of the most important things families can do on Pesach night, both when the actual korban Pesach was offered as well as in our contemporary model of Pesach seder, is come together.

The first letters of “Tazria-M’tzora” form the word “meis” (dead), and the last letters (ayin-ayin) have the same numerical value as the word “kam” (to arise). The Torah warns us that one who speaks ill of others is punished by tzaraas (“leprosy”), for he has caused his death. However, if he guards himself from speaking lashon ha’ra and only speaks good of others, then “kam” – he will arise, for he has overcome his inclination to spread rumors about others. Woe to those who speak ill of others and will have no way to arise! That is why it is extremely important to be vigilant in regard to the sin of lashon ha’ra. [Pachad David]

In Pirkei Avos (1:4), our Sages teach us that the person most worthy of honor is one who honors others. This approach is nicely portrayed in the famous story concerning Rabbi Akiva Eiger zt”l and Rabbi Yaakov Loeberbaum zt”l, the “Nesivos HaMishpat,” who were once traveling in a wagon heading for the same town. The whole community turned out to welcome the two esteemed rabbanim. The Nesivos naturally thought that all the honor was meant for his companion, so he descended from the coach and walked beside it. When he looked over to the other side of the coach, he saw Rabbi Akiva Eiger walking alongside the coach, for he too was certain that the honor was not meant for him, but for the author of the Nesivos HaMishpat. Accordingly, the entire village and the two rabbinic guests all walked alongside an empty wagon into town.

The Torah and our Sages praise Aharon HaKohen after the death of his sons for his silence. The Mashgiach, Rav Shlomo Wolbe zt”l, discusses the art of silence. He wrote: “We teach a child to speak. Once we teach him to speak, this becomes his nature, to speak and to chatter without end. Do we teach this child how to be silent as well? Behold, silence is also a tool.”

In the early part of the 20th century, a young girl stood near her father on the dock of a Polish harbor, a steamer trunk at her feet. Out of her nine siblings, 12-year-old Rose was the child chosen to be sent to the “golden land,” America. Life in Poland was hard, hunger a constant visitor in her home. After much scraping and pinching, her family saved enough for a single one-way ticket to the United States. And Rose, the youngest of the nine, was the lucky one chosen to go.