web analytics
March 28, 2015 / 8 Nisan, 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.

Current Top Story
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu.
Netanyahu to Release Frozen Palestinian Authority Tax Revenue
Latest Judaism Stories
Bodenheim-032715

Our ability to teach is only successful if done by example.

Torat-Hakehillah-logo-NEW

Outside of the High Holidays, Pesach is probably the most celebrated biblical holiday for the majority of Jews.

Business-Halacha-logo

“If I notify people, nobody will buy the matzos!” exclaimed Mr. Mandel. “Once the halachic advisory panel ruled leniently, why can’t I sell the matzos regularly?”

The-Shmuz

So what type of praise is it that Aaron followed orders?

Her Children, Her Whim
‘Kesubas Bnin Dichrin’
(Kesubos 52b)

Question: Must one spend great sums of money and invest much effort in making one’s home kosher for Passover? Not all of us have such unlimited funds.

Name Withheld
(Via E-Mail)

Yachatz is not mentioned in the Gemara. What is the foundation for yachatz?

First, the punishment for eating chametz on Pesach is karet, premature death at the Hand of God.

Why is it necessary to invite people to eat from the korban Pesach?

How was I going to get to Manhattan? No cabs were going, we didn’t have a car, and many people who did have cars had no gas.

Did you ever notice that immediately upon being granted our freedom from Egypt, the Jewish people accepted upon themselves the yoke of a new master – Hashem?

Why does Torah make the priests go through a long and seemingly bizarre induction ceremony?

Often people in important positions separate from everyday people & tasks-NOT the Kohen Gadol

You smuggled tefillin into the camp? How can they help? Every day men risked their lives to use them

Rambam: Eating blood’s forbidden because connected to idolatry;Ramban: We’re affected by what we eat

Rambam warns that a festival meal without taking care of the needy isn’t fulfilling simchat yom tov

More Articles from Rabbi Ben Tzion Shafier
The-Shmuz

So what type of praise is it that Aaron followed orders?

The-Shmuz

If my garment is clean, then I will be careful about maintaining its beauty. If it is soiled, I will not be as careful.

This concept should be very relevant to us as we, too, should be happy beyond description.

The avodah (service) of the kohen gadol is vital and highly sensitive; the world’s very existence depends on it.

While it may appear that man is in charge, Hashem orchestrates every activity on the planet

Hashem placed this world at man’s disposal. In a real sense, man is the steward of Creation.

He is fully aware that who he will be for eternity is in his hands.

How can the Da’as Zekeinim say this was Hashem’s plan to allow them to become the Torah Nation? We know it was actually a punishment.

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

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: