The Mitzrim are a fantastic illustration of this concept. Moshe was afraid that if there were a discrepancy between his time and theirs, they would assume they were right and he was wrong. Even though he had proven himself again and again, even though all the other details about the firstborn dying were completely correct, there wouldn’t have even been a question in their minds. If they determined it was precisely 11:45, fifteen minutes before the prescribed time, and the firstborn started dying, clearly in their eyes Moshe would be a liar. Because of this, Moshe used the expression approximately so that they shouldn’t come to this mistake.
This concept has great relevance to us on a personal level. What happens when someone points out I did something incorrect? Am I able to deal with the concept that maybe I am wrong? Am I able to swallow the thought that I made a mistake? Part of becoming a bigger person is the ability to be teachable, to be big enough to understand that not everything I thought of is right. And not everything someone else says is automatically wrong just because it isn’t my way. If a person wants to grow, some of the most critical words he needs to tell himself are: Maybe I’m wrong. I have been wrong before. Let me look at it again…
When a person opens himself up to the idea he may have erred, he becomes far more pleasant, far more agreeable, and is on the path to true growth.
About the Author: Rabbi Shafier is the founder of TheShmuz.com. The Shmuz is an engaging, motivating shiur that deals with real life issues. All of the Shmuzin are available free of charge at www.TheShmuz.com or on the Shmuz App for iphone or Android.
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