web analytics
November 22, 2014 / 29 Heshvan, 5775
At a Glance
Judaism
Sponsored Post
IDC Herzliya Campus A Day on Campus

To mark IDC Herzliya’s 20th anniversary, we spent a day following Prof. Uriel Reichman, IDC’s founder and president, and Jonathan Davis, VP for External Relations, around its delightful campus.



Home » Judaism » Parsha »

Hashem And Man: Master And Servant


The-Shmuz

“The Kohen shall don a garment of linen, and he shall don linen breeches on his skin, and he shall remove the ashes.” – Vayikra 6:3

One of the daily activities in the Mishkan was taking out the ashes. Chovos Ha’Levavos explains that Hashem commanded Aaron to do this action each day “to lower himself and rid himself of the arrogance in his heart.”

This statement seems to imply that Aaron was arrogant, and that Hashem felt he needed specific work to get rid of that sense of superiority. The problem is that it is difficult to imagine that Aaron Hakohen was a haughty individual. This concept becomes even more problematic when we focus on the Torah’s description of Aaron.

When Hashem appeared to Moshe and said, “I want you to lead the Jewish people out of Mitzrayim,” Moshe refused. He was afraid Aaron would feel slighted. Up to that point, Aaron had been the leader of the nation, the one who brought the word of Hashem to the people. Now his younger brother, unheard of for sixty years, would usurp that position. As great as Aaron was, Moshe knew he was still human and would feel the pain of being displaced. Therefore, Moshe wanted no part of it.

Hashem explained to Moshe that while this might be a well-founded fear with regard to the average person, Aaron – because of his great spiritual stature – was above jealousy and competition and this wouldn’t cause him any pain. He had so eliminated bad character traits from his heart that he would feel nothing negative. In fact, when Moshe assumed this position and Aaron set out to meet him, the pasuk says, “It was with joy in his heart.”

Hashem was telling Moshe that Aaron was in a different category of people. He had mastered his nature. He was like a malach in human form.

Of all men, Aaron wouldn’t be haughty and overbearing. So why did Hashem feel it was necessary for him to take out the ashes each day to eliminate arrogance from his heart?

The answer to this question is based on understanding the underpinnings of our relationship with Hashem.

Chovos Ha’Levavos (Shaar Ha’chnah) explains a basic truism: a servant needs a master, and a master needs a servant. By definition, a servant can’t be a servant without a master, and a master can’t be a master without a servant. They are mutually dependent. With that, he explains the danger of arrogance. The arrogant person feels powerful, mighty, and independent. These are not the traits one finds in a servant; quite the opposite, these are the traits of superiors, of people who rule. For that reason, the arrogant person can’t be a servant of Hashem.

Hashem alone has the right to wear the trait of ga’avah. He alone is mighty, He alone is powerful, and He alone is independent. Anyone else who harbors these thoughts in his heart is “wearing the King’s robes.” He views himself in a manner that is false and delusional. More significantly, in that state he cannot serve Hashem. Arrogance utterly skews the relationship of man to his Creator. Its opposite, humility, is central to all avodas Hashem.

This seems to be the answer to the question. In no sense was Aaron haughty or overbearing; he was among the most modest of men. The problem was that his role required even more. As the representative of the nation, he was going into the Holiest of the Holies; any imperfection in his intentions would have spelled an imperfect avodah, so he needed to be perfect in his humility. To attain that state, he needed a physical exercise. He had to, so to speak, take out the garbage each day. By doing this, any trace of independence was eliminated from his heart, and he was able to reach that most elusive understanding: I am utterly, completely, and totally dependent upon Hashem. I am the creation, and He is my Creator. As great as Aaron was, he still needed improvement in this area, and it was only through concrete, physical actions that he could reach a state of true humility.

The Core of Being an Eved Hashem

This concept is very applicable in our lives. All of our avodas Hashem hinges upon accepting Hashem as our Master. While we may not be haughty, unless we have worked on acquiring humility there will be trace elements of arrogance in our hearts, and these will greatly impede our being subservient to Hashem. They stop us from standing as servants in front of our Master.

The only way to achieve true humility is by being exposed to life situations that allow us to grow in humility. By being subjected to the various situations in life where we come to recognize that we are not mighty, powerful, and independent, the reality starts to seep in. I am a mere mortal. Here for a few short years, unable to even control my own existence, I am but a creation dependent upon my Master for my very existence.

To help us grow, Hashem will often custom-tailor situations for us. Not every circumstance in life is pleasant, and not every condition is something would we wish for. Some situations may be demeaning. It may feel like you are being asked to take out the garbage. You might even feel indignant. “Hashem, why are You subjecting me to this? What have I done wrong to deserve this?” The answer may well be nothing. It wasn’t something wrong you did that brought this about. Rather, it was something you did right, some merit you have that allowed you to have this opportunity to acquire that rare commodity – humility.

Recognizing our need for situations that bring us to a sense of dependence upon Hashem can help us understand life, and then we can use these situations to grow and to accomplish our purpose in Creation.

About the Author: Rabbi Shafier is the founder of the Shmuz.com – The Shmuz is an engaging, motivating shiur that deals with real life issues. All of the Shmuzin are available free of charge at the www.theShmuz.com or on the Shmuz App for iphone or Android.


If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.

Our comments section is intended for meaningful responses and debates in a civilized manner. We ask that you respect the fact that we are a religious Jewish website and avoid inappropriate language at all cost.

If you promote any foreign religions, gods or messiahs, lies about Israel, anti-Semitism, or advocate violence (except against terrorists), your permission to comment may be revoked.

No Responses to “Hashem And Man: Master And Servant”

Comments are closed.

SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Current Top Story
Colleagues of the hanged Arab bus driver whose death continues to be referred to as murder despite autopsy finding of suicide. These are Arab drivers of Egged buses, claiming they suffer discrimination by Israelis.
Arab Pathologist Singing New Tune: Murder (By Jews) Not Suicide
Latest Judaism Stories
Rabbi Avi Weiss

Yitzchak thought the Jewish people needed dual leadership: Eisav the physical; Yaakov the spiritual

Weiss-112114-Sufganiot

According to the Sefer Yetzirah, the nature of the month of Kislev is sleep.

Teller-Rabbi-Hanoch-NEW

Though braggarts come across as conceited, their boasting often reflects a low sense of self-regard

Nimchinsky-112114-Learning

Not every child can live up to our hopes or expectations, but every child is loved by Hashem.

Leaders must always pay attention to the importance of timing.

While our leaders have been shepherds, the vast majority of the Children of Israel were farmers.

Maimonides himself walked and prayed in the permissible areas when he visited Eretz Yisrael in 1165

If a man dies childless, the Torah commands the deceased’s brother to marry his brother’s widow in a ceremony known as yibum, or to perform a special form of divorce ceremony with her known as chalitzah.

Dovid turned to the other people sitting at his table. “I’m revoking my hefker of the Chumash,” he announced. “I want to keep it.”

Ever Vigilant
‘When Unworthy, One’s Number Of Years Is Reduced’
(Yevamos 50a)

Question: My young daughter was recently diagnosed with autism. She does not function well socially and is extremely introverted, but we have noticed that she reacts very well to small animals. We reported this to her therapist who suggested that we get a dog or cat as a pet. We know that most religious people frown upon having pets, but we hate to see our daughter suffer and want to do anything that would make her happy. Would it be okay to own a pet in the circumstances we described?

Her Loving Parents
(Via E-Mail)

Ramban interprets Korban as self-sacrifice, each Jew should attempt to recreate Akeidas Yitzchak.

Dr. Schwartz had no other alternatives up his sleeve. He suggested my mother go home and think about what she wanted to do.

Why does Lavan’s speaking before his father show that he was wicked? Disrespectful, yes. Rude, certainly. But a rasha?

We find that in certain circumstances before the Torah was actually given, people were permitted to make calculations as to what would better serve Hashem, even if it were against a mitzvah or aveirah.

More Articles from Rabbi Ben Tzion Shafier
The-Shmuz

Why does Lavan’s speaking before his father show that he was wicked? Disrespectful, yes. Rude, certainly. But a rasha?

The-Shmuz

What happened was that Frank Jr. stopped being the little babe looking with love into his father’s eyes, and the relationship took on a very different nature.

Is it possible a man could be standing in a burning building, knowing this life is in danger, and be too lazy to move?

Avram’s father was not impressed with the cleverness of his son. In fact, he was so unimpressed that he took him to Nimrod the king, who pronounced him an enemy of the state and attempted to execute him.

Strict din demands perfection. There is no room for shortcomings and no place for excuses; you are responsible.

I, the one who is housed inside this body, am completely and utterly spiritual.

When Hashem formed man, He gave him the keys to Creation. As the Midrash tells us, Hashem said to Adam, “This is your world now. You are in charge of it; take care that you don’t destroy it.”

Imagine a man who, after having a few too many drinks, gets into his car and begins driving. It takes a while before he is pulled over, but finally the police arrest him, and he stands trial for driving while intoxicated.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/judaism/parsha/hashem-and-man-master-and-servant/2013/03/21/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: