web analytics
November 23, 2014 / 1 Kislev, 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 »

Vayikra – With A Small Aleph

The-Shmuz

 And Hashem called to Moshe, and [He] spoke to him from the ohel moed saying. . .Vayikra 1:1

 

Sefer Vayikra opens with the expression, “And Hashem called to Moshe.” The word vayikra (called) is written with a small aleph.

The Baal HaTurim explains that this was because of Moshe Rabbeinu’s extreme humility. Hashem told him to write the word vayikra with an aleph. That implies that Hashem called Moshe to come forward for an audience. Moshe felt that was too much honor. He wanted it to appear as if it were more of a random occurrence.

When Hashem spoke to Bilaam, the Torah used the expression “vayikar” – it occurred – to mean that it wasn’t a formal audience, just a chance happening. So Moshe requested to write the word here that way without the aleph. Hashem told him not to do that, but to write the word out fully. Out of his extreme humility, Moshe said he would only write it with a small aleph to somehow keep the connotation that it wasn’t a formal invitation.

When we focus on this discussion, we see a beautiful illustration of humility – with a bit of a twist. Hashem called out to Moshe and specifically told him to write that in the Torah. After all, it was true, and it was important for the Jewish people to recognize the greatness of their leader. Moshe felt that while everyone might already have known it, to have it recorded that way for generations was just too much kavod, so he asked to have it stricken from the record.

Hashem told him no, it must remain. So out of deference to Hashem Moshe wrote it, but not in its full form, only with a small aleph. Moshe ran from the kavod, a very impressive show of humility.

Yet if we think about this discussion, it doesn’t sound humble at all. Hashem was giving Moshe directions for writing the Torah, the very blueprint for Creation. Hashem instructed Moshe to write the word “vayikra” with a large aleph. Moshe said no. Hashem insisted. Moshe still said no. Finally Moshe compromised: “All right, I will write it, but my way – small.” This doesn’t sound very obedient, and certainly not humble! It sounds audacious. An unassuming man would listen to the Creator of the Heavens and the earth and do as he was told.

The Greatness of Man and the Value of Humility

The answer to this can be found by understanding the balance between the greatness of man and humility. To do this, let’s begin with a mashal.

Imagine you are passing a commercial construction site where you see a large crane digging out a foundation. The crane lifts up loads of dirt, rocks, rubble – moving tons of earth with each scoop. Operating the crane is Joe. Joe is overweight and a chain smoker. Another worker approaches Joe and says, “Joe, look at you! 80 pounds overweight, smoking two packs of cigarettes a day. You must do something about your health. Go the gym, work out, and get in shape.”

Joe turns back to his coworker and says, “Me work out? What do you think I do all day long? I lift heavy loads, tons and tons of dirt from one side of the site to the other.”

“Joe, that isn’t you lifting the dirt. It’s the crane. You’re just the guy pulling the levers. The crane is doing the heavy lifting!” exclaims the coworker.

This is an apt parable to man. I occupy a body. This body has a mind that is brilliant and a mouth that is articulate. It was created in the image of Hashem. Look at what it can accomplish; look what it can do. It is deserving of extraordinary honor.

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.

One Response to “Vayikra – With A Small Aleph

  1. i love jewish press

Comments are closed.

SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Current Top Story
US Secretary of State John Kerry with German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier before P5+1 talks. Nov. 22, 2014.
BREAKING: West About to Cave on Key Iranian Demand
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/vayikra-with-a-small-aleph/2014/03/06/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: