Thursday, March 14, 2013

Thursday's Parsha Tidbits - Parshas Vayikra

The following is a brief summary of thoughts said over by R' Frand on the parsha this evening. I have attempted to reproduce these vorts to the best of my ability. Any perceived inconsistency is the result of my efforts to transcribe the shiur and should not be attributed to R' Frand.

As anyone who has ever opened a chumash knows, the aleph at the end of the word Vayikra which begins this week's parsha is diminutive  The Medrash teaches that the aleph is small because the word Vayikra shows Hashem's closeness to Moshe and Moshe did not want to give the impression that he was close enough to Hashem that he would be called by Hashem. 

R' Frand quoted R' Shach who cites the famous gemara that R' Akiva would teach many halachos from the crowns which are on the top of the letters of the words of the Torah. However, if there are limudim which can be made from the crowns on the letters, how can Moshe deprive the Jews of the ability to learn Torah from the crown which should have been on top of the aleph? 

R' Shach answers that to teach the middah of humility is a great lesson, so great that we can miss out on the other limudim which could be made from the crown on the aleph. 

R' Frand then stated that Moshe's humility can actually be seen throughout the Torah. The Medrash Tanchuma states in the name of R' Levi that Hashem argued with Moshe at the Sneh for seven days in order to try to convince Moshe to take the job. After Moshe was convinced to lead, Moshe went down to Egypt to talk to Pharaoh and was rejected by Pharaoh. The Medrash states that once Pharaoh rejected Moshe, Moshe said to Hashem - I have done what you asked me to do and I have been unsuccessful. I don't want/deserve the job - go find someone else. Again, Hashem had to convince Moshe to lead. 

R' Frand explained that Moshe is an example of the expression that all who chases honor, the honor will run from them. Meanwhile, all who run from honor, the honor will chase after them.

R' Frand next told a story from the Chofetz Chaim which illustrates the concept. There was a talmid chacham in Radin who never got the honor that he felt that he deserved. Eventually, the talmid chacham went to the Chofetz Chaim and asked - since I am so learned, why am I not receiving any honor?

The Chofetz Chaim answered the man with the above cited expression and then explained it as follows. In using the word for the one who runs from honor it says "kol" or "all". The language of all is a language which is ribui - it adds. This teaches that anyone who chases after honor, even if it is deserved, the honor will run from him. Similarly, the word kol is used for one who runs from honor. Anyone who runs from honor even if he does not deserve it, like me said the Chofetz Chaim, the honor will chase after him. 

R' Frand then quoted the Sfas Emes who asks - if a person runs away from honor because he sincerely does not want the honor and not out of false modesty, why does Hashem punish him with the honor that he really does not want? The Sfas Emes answers that in nature - things always return to their source. Hashem is the source for all honor, so honor will always flow back to the Melech Hakavod. A person gets to the level of running from honor because he realizes that he has accomplished things - but it is all due to a gift from Hashem which allowed him to accomplish what he has done. When the person runs from honor, he is running towards Hashem who he identifies as the source of his ability to accomplish. But while he is running towards Hashem, the honor is running back towards Hashem too.

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