Moshe Rabbeynu was the humblest man who ever lived. The Telshe Rav (Rav Yosef Leib Bloch, of blessed memory) explained that one can soar to the heights of success and still remain humble. Humility depends solely upon the personal yardstick against which one chooses to be measured. For example, if a six-foot man measures himself against one who is five feet tall, he can boast of his greater stature. However, if he measures himself against the height of the sun, 93 million miles above him, his height is trivial like the dust of the earth. Man waxes proud only when measured against smaller men. However, when measured against the infinite and eternal Creator, man must accept his own relative insignificance. Moshe was humbled more than any other man precisely because he recognized his position and thereby achieved such closeness to God, unparalleled to date.
Still, Moshe was a flesh-and-blood man. The Torah reminds us of his “humanness” in the one act that cost him the right to enter the land of Israel.
Suddenly, the Jewish people had no water to drink in the desert. They began demonstrating against Moshe and Aharon, saying, “Why did you bring God’s congregation to this desert? So that we and our livestock should die?! Why did you make us come up from Egypt to bring us to this terrible place? There is not even any water to drink!”
God commanded Moshe to take his rod and assemble the community with this brother, Aharon. They were both commanded to speak to the rock in the presence of the Jewish people. They were told that the rock would give its waters, thereby allowing the community and its livestock to drink. Moshe raised his hand and, using the rod, struck the rock twice. A huge amount of water gushed out, and the community and the livestock were able to drink.
God said to Moshe and Aharon, “You did not have enough faith in Me to sanctify Me in the presence of the Israelites. Therefore, you shall not bring this assembly to the land that I have given them.”
A person selected for leadership takes on enormous responsibility. Life presents us all with frustrations, challenges, tension and choices; the leader under pressure from a quarrelsome nation; the parent under pressure from a difficult child; the teacher under pressure from an uncooperative student. Moshe and Aharon, the nation’s leaders, responded to their crises with excess – deep feeling of despair, extreme anger, name calling and physical violence. They suffered painful consequences.
From the Torah to Your Table
Rabbi Zelig Pliskin looks at the mitzvah of “Love your fellow man as you love yourself:” He says, “A person who is not willing to make sacrifices for other people will always find reasons why it is too difficult for him to do acts of kindness for others. To help others takes time, energy and money. But when someone truly loves another person, he feels pleasure in all of the sacrifices he makes for him. The greater your love for someone, the more sacrifices you are willing to make. Therefore, the test of your level of love for your fellow man is the amount sacrifices you are willing to make. A person who is not willing to make any sacrifices shows that he lacks love for others.”
Discuss the concept that the “love for others necessitates making sacrifices.”
July 2011 Sivan/Tammuz 5771
Candle Lighting Times and Torah Portions
Light Candles at: 7:48 p.m.
Torah Portion: Chukkat (Numbers 19:1-22:1)
Light Candles at: 7:47 p.m.
Torah Portion: Balak (Numbers 22:2-25:9)
Light Candles at: 7:45 p.m.
Torah Portion: Pinchas (Numbers 25:10-30:1)
Light Candles at: 7:41 p.m.
Torah Portion: Matot (Numbers 30:2-32:42)
Light Candles at: 7:36 p.m.
Torah Portion: Masei (Numbers 33:1-36:13)