web analytics
January 29, 2015 / 9 Shevat, 5775
 
At a Glance
Judaism
Sponsored Post


Home » Judaism » Parsha »

Limiting Beliefs

The-Shmuz

“And now Yisrael, what is Hashem asking of you? Merely to fear Hashem, to go in all of His ways, to love Him, and serve Him with all of your heart and soul.” – Devarim 10:12

 

In this pasuk, Moshe Rabbeinu set before the Jewish people the categories of human growth and accomplishments.

 

1. To fear Hashem.

2. To go in all of His ways.

3. To love Hashem.

4. To serve Him with all of you heart and your soul.

 

Each category is a world in and of itself and would take man a lifetime to accomplish. Together these four groupings comprise all of service to Hashem and are the measure of the perfection of the human.

Yet, amazingly, when Moshe introduces these concepts to the Jewish nation, he asks, “What does Hashem ask from you but this?” It’s as if to imply that it is but a small request.

The Gemara in Berachos is troubled by this and asks, “Is fear of Hashem a small thing?” The Gemara answers, “Yes, to Moshe it was a small thing. To a poor man, even small items seem valuable. However, to a wealthy man even vast sums seem small.”

Since Moshe had attained such spiritual perfection, these things seemed simple to him, hence he asked, “What does Hashem want from you but this?”

The difficulty with this Gemara is that it implies Moshe was using himself as the standard of measurement for the average person. It’s as if he were saying, “If I can reach this, then so can you.” Yet we know Moshe towered over every other human ever created. After 80 years of unparalleled growth, he spent 40 days without food, drink, or sleep, and was taught the entire Torah by Hashem. For the next forty years he was engaged in teaching that Torah to the Jewish people. At this point in his life, he is a giant of a man, and in no way can he be compared to the typical person. So while these things may not have seemed lofty to him, to his audience they were gargantuan. Why would Moshe use his own experiences as the measuring rod against which the average person should compare himself?

The answer to this question is based on a different perspective on human capacity. To gain that viewpoint, let us take a look at an interesting phenomenon.

Being Tied to a Peg in the Ground

In parts of Asia, the elephant remains the beast of choice for lugging heavy loads. As part of its workday, an adult elephant will pull logs weighing thousands of pounds through long stretches of forest undergrowth. Yet at night that same elephant will be controlled by being tied to a small peg in the ground.

While it’s clear to you and to me that a 14,000-pound creature can easily break away from the light ropes holding it, the reality is that it cannot – not because it isn’t motivated, and not because it doesn’t want to, but because in the elephant’s understanding it just can’t be done.

In this part of the world, shortly after birth the baby elephant is tied to a peg in the ground. At that stage in its development, it may weigh 250 pounds and isn’t strong enough to break the rope that holds it. From that point forward, every day of its life the elephant will be tied to that peg in the ground. Even when the animal has reached maturity and will be called upon to lug felled trees weighing over 4,000 pounds, it will remain tied to a small peg. The understanding is firmly fixed in its mind: it can’t escape.

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 “Limiting Beliefs”

Comments are closed.

SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Current Top Story
Je suis Juif de France: 'I am a Jew of France."
US Treasury Secy Jack Lew Says French Jews Don’t Want to Leave
Latest Judaism Stories
Tissot_The_Waters_Are_Divided

Leading by example must be visible, regarding where, when and how-like Nachshon entering the Red Sea

Torah-Hakehillah-121914

Rabbi Yaakov Nagen, a Ram at Yeshivat Otniel, notes that the verse is suggesting that retelling the story of the Exodus is so important that Hashem is performing ever-greater miracles specifically so that parents can tell their stories to future generations.

Parshat Bo

Before performing the 10th plague God makes a fundamental argument about the ultimate nature of justice.

Daf-Yomi-logo

Life Before The Printed Word
‘A Revi’is Of Blood’
(Yevamos 114a-b)

How is it possible that the clothing was more valuable to them than gold or silver?

Question: If Abraham was commanded to circumcise his descendants on the eighth day, why do Arabs – who claim to descend from Abraham through Yishmael – wait until their children are 13 to circumcise them? I am aware that this is a matter of little consequence to our people. Nevertheless, this inconsistency is one that piques my curiosity.

M. Goldman
(Via E-mail)

“It means that the disqualification of relatives as witnesses is a procedural issue, not a question of honesty,” explained Rabbi Dayan.

Property ownership is an extremely important and fundamental right and principle according to the Torah.

The tenderest description of the husband/wife relationship is “re’im v’ahuvim/loving, kind friends”

And if a person can take steps to perform the mitzvah, he should do so (even if he won’t be held accountable for not performing it due to circumstances beyond his control).

Suddenly, she turns to me and says, “B’emet, I need to thank you, you made me excited to come back to Israel.”

Pesach is called “zikaron,” a Biblical term used describing an object eliciting a certain memory

Recouping $ and assets from Germans and Swiss for their Holocaust actions is rooted in the Exodus

Pharaoh perverted symbols of life (the Nile and midwives) into agents of death.

I think that we have to follow the approach of the Tannaim and Amoraim. They followed the latest scientific developments of their time.

More Articles from Rabbi Ben Tzion Shafier
The-Shmuz

How is it possible that the clothing was more valuable to them than gold or silver?

The-Shmuz

It is exactly like that of an animal, with all of the passions and desires necessary to drive man though his daily existence.

How did their hatred toward the Jews make their own lives disgusting? It’s the Jews they hated, not themselves.

When Hashem made man, He created two worlds – this world and the World to Come. Each has its purpose.

Because we see these events as world changing, as moments in history, they become part of us forever.

Our right to exist and our form of self-government were decided by the ruling parties.

If Hashem is watching tzaddikim, why couldn’t He just save Yosef from all the suffering he was about to endure?

If a man owns a successful small business, he might do a million dollars a year in sales. But that is the gross revenue, not the amount he takes home.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/judaism/parsha/limiting-beliefs/2014/08/14/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: