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Should we share our anxieties with others?

Do you share your fears with others?
Some people enjoy doing it. They openly discuss their fears and anxieties with anyone willing to listen. Others prefer to keep their worries to themselves. Most people are somewhere in between these two extremes.
This week’s Parsha teaches us an important lesson about sharing our anxieties with others.
The words we choose and our facial expressions can greatly impact the people around us. We need to be mindful of when and where we use them.
Before we share, we should carefully evaluate what will happen to the people listening to us. At times, speaking about our anxieties can increase theirs; and surely, this is the last thing we want to do!
Here’s the story from this week’s Parsha.
As the Jewish people were making their way into the land of Israel, they asked neighboring rulers for permission to pass through their countries. These rulers refused and even attacked the Jewish people – who fought back and won.
Our Parsha describes the wars with Sichon, the king of the Heshbon, and Og, the king of Bashan.
While getting ready for war with Og, G-d addressed Moshe and told him:
“Do not fear him (Og)! For I have delivered him into your hand, and all his people, and his land; and you shall do to him as you did to Sichon king of the Amorites, who dwelt at Heshbon.”
Why did Moshe need extra reassurance from G-d before fighting Og? The Talmud points out that Sichon and Og were brothers. Being victorious over one brother should have given Moshe confidence in the upcoming battle with Og.
Rabbi Shimon Ben Yochai offers the following explanation in the Talmud:
“From the answer that G-d gave to that righteous (Moses) you know what was in Moseh’s heart” and caused him to fear.
The ancient King Og was alive during the time of Abraham and helped him find his nephew Lot after he was captured. Moses was worried that this would give Og a spiritual advantage and help him win the battle.
This is why G-d spoke to Moshe, addressing his inner fears and reassuring him that he would be victorious again.
At a gathering in 1965, the Rebbe noted how the Talmud states that the fear was only “in Moshe’s heart.” No one besides him was aware of this concern, and he chose not to share it with anyone else.
Why?
Moshe worried that sharing this information with the Jewish nation would make them fearful and hurt their morale.
So even though he was scared and had good reason to worry, he kept his doubts to himself. On the outside, he radiated confidence in their chances of success.
This takes us back to the topic of sharing our anxieties with others.
Our words and expressions matter. The way we carry ourselves affects others too. When we’re in a leadership role (which we all are, because everyone influences someone), we need to be mindful of the message we’re sending.
Whenever we want to influence others to do good, it’s okay to act confidently, even if we’re feeling scared or doubtful on the inside. This can help encourage others to believe in the success of the mission.
Our feelings will catch up with our actions, and we will start feeling confident, and ultimately we’ll be successful!
About the Author
Rabbi Mendy Kaminker is the Chabad Rabbi of Hackensack, and an editorial member of Chabad.org.
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