web analytics
August 4, 2015 / 19 Av, 5775
At a Glance
Judaism
Sponsored Post


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 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.


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.

Current Top Story
Bibi conf call
Bibi: ‘Keep or Cheat,’ This Deal Will Give Iran the Bomb
Latest Judaism Stories
Torat-Hakehillah-logo-NEW

By internalizing the Exodus, it is as if we ourselves were redeemed from Egypt.

Neihaus-073115

Each Shabbos we add the tefilla of “Ritzei” to Birchas HaMazon. In it we ask Hashem that on this day of Shabbos He should be pleased with us and save us. What exactly do we want to be saved from? Before we answer this question, let’s talk about this Friday, the 15th of Av. Many […]

Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks

Amongst the greatest disagreements in Judaism is the understanding of the 1st of the 10 Commandments

Daf-Yomi-logo

The Day He Heard
‘One May Seek Revocation Of A Confimation’
(Nedarim 69a)

The director picked up the phone to Rabbi Dayan. “One of our counselors lost his check,” he said. “Do we have to issue a new one or is it his loss?”

Six events occurred on Tu B’Av, the 15th of Av, making it a festive day in the Jewish calendar.

Why would Moshe Rabbeinu have thought that the vow that disallowed him to enter Eretz Yisrael was annulled simply because he was allowed to conquer and enter the land of Sichon and Og?

Question: When a stranger approaches a congregant in shul asking for tzedakah, should the congregant verify that the person’s need is genuine? Furthermore, what constitutes tzedakah? Is a donation to a synagogue, yeshiva, or hospital considered tzedakah?

Zvi Kirschner
(Via E-Mail)

Snow in Jerusalem! For many New Englanders like me, snow pulls at our nostalgic heartstrings like nothing else can.

Man has conflicting wishes and desires. Man has forces pulling him in competing directions.

Perhaps the admonition here is that we should not trivialize the events of the past by saying that they are irrelevant to the modern Jew.

One must view the settlement of Israel in a positive light. Thinking otherwise is a grievous sin.

Reaching a stronger understanding of what Moses actually did to prevent him from entering the land

Anti-Zionism, today’s anti-Semitism, has gone viral, tragically supported globally & by many Jews

More Articles from Rabbi Ben Tzion Shafier
Shmuz-logo-NEW

Man has conflicting wishes and desires. Man has forces pulling him in competing directions.

On Super Bowl Sunday itself, life seems to stop. Over one hundred million people watch the game. About half of the households in the country show it in their living rooms and dens.

We are affected by our environment. Our perspective on the world is affected by what those around us do.

It is the right amount of the right middah in the right time that is the key to perfection. Each middah has its place, time, and correct measure.

“You shall not hate your brother in your heart; you shall reprove your fellow and do not bear a sin because of him.” – Vayikra 19:17   When the Torah mentions the obligation to rebuke a fellow Jew, it ends with the words “and do not carry a sin because of him.” The Targum translates […]

The answer to this question is based on one of the greatest shortcomings of man – self-limiting beliefs.

When Chazal call not eating treif food a chok, that refers to how it functions.

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: