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We are blessed

Thursday, 17 March, 2016 - 10:31 am

When the third Chabad Rebbe was three years old, he asked his grandfather, Rabbi Schneur Zalman of Liadi, why the word Vayikra – ויקרא (the first word in this week’s Torah portion) is written in the Torah with a small alef.

Opening his holy eyes, after a long time being in a state of dveikus (deep meditation), the Rebbe answered: 

“The letters that G‑d gave at Sinai appear in three sizes – large, intermediate and small. The Torah is written in letters of intermediate size. This teaches us that humans need always act in accordance with Torah and G-d's will, and that they can attain this level via the Torah. By recognizing his own lofty stature, Adam stumbled with the Sin of the Tree of Knowledge. His name (אדם) is therefore written with a large alef in Chronicles 1:1. Moses, by contrast, via the spiritual G-dly service of realizing his own lowliness of spirit, attained the ultimate degree of humility. Therefore, when G‑d calls him, that verb (ויקרא) is written with a small alef.”

Adam was made by G-d hands and Moses Spoke to G-d 'face to face'. Now, like Adam, Moses was aware of his own stature. However, not only was he not over-impressed by that awareness, but in fact it left him with a humbled and bruised heart. In his own eyes, he was lowly because he thought: ‘If some other Jew, who was not a son of Amram and not a seventh-generation descendant of Avraham Avinu, had been endowed with such a lofty soul and had been boosted by such ancestral merits, he would certainly have outshone me.’ This is what the Holy One, blessed be He, writes in the Torah: ‘this man, Moshe, was very humble, more so than any man on the face of the earth.’ Moses compared himself with any person, no matter how ordinary and unintellectual, and felt that if such a person had been granted his unearned gifts of soul and ancestry, he would certainly have risen to greater heights than Moses himself had attained.

The message of 'no matter how great we are we should have intense humility’ is hinted in the word Vayikra, which means to call out. It's time to even the playing field; everyone should be able to connect their friend, neighbor or acquaintance with Hashem through a Torah true connection. We are all "in the business" of Vayikra - "calling out". If you were blessed with knowledge about Judaism, whether by nurture or nature, it is incumbent upon you to share it! 

We cannot have false humility saying, I am not a Rabbi or I am not a community leader so who am I to preach to my friends? We cannot escape this calling to teach others. It is a mission placed upon us by Hashem, G-d, the Aluf (Chieftain) of the world. At the same time, we need to have a small alef and not become haughty and self-aggrandizing because we were blessed to know more. Let's accept this mission and change the world!

Have a wonderful Shabbos - looking forward to seeing many of you over the next week Services, Tefillin Club, How Do I Jew It or Purim. 

Rabbi Kushi Schusterman
P.S. This story and others about the Third Rebbe can be found here

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