Our Parshat Vayikra is being sponsored by Dov and Lauren Greenberg of Ramat Beit Shemesh dedicated Lilui Nishmas for Dov and Lauren’s Grandparents. To the Greenberg family, many thanks for your sponsorship and for your continued kindnesses.
You can celebrate a Simcha — a birth, a Bar/Bat Mitzvah, a Chassuna or other Simcha event in your life, or commemorate a Yahrtzeit of a loved one, or for whatever other reason by sponsoring a Parshat HaShevua.
Please forward to your relatives and friends and encourage them to sponsor a Parshat HaShevua. And please be in contact with me with any questions, or for further details.
R’ Shimshon Rafael Hirsch, z’l in the new Hirsch Chumash (published by Feldheim in 2005 and translated to English by Rabbi Daniel Haberman) renders translation of our Parsha’s opening posuk:
“And He called to Moshe, and Hashem spoke to him from the Tent of Appointed Meeting [Mei-Ohel Mo’ed], saying:” (Hirsch Chumash, Sefer Vayikra, page 1, Perek 1, posuk 1)
Rebbetzin Shira Smiles, in her sefer “Torah Tapestries,” (Sefer Vayikra page 5) cites both Rashi and Rabbi Shimshon Dovid Pincus regarding calling one’s name as background for Hashem’s expression of “Vayikra” — Hashem’s gentle, loving calls to Moshe for private meetings:
The opening phrase “vayikra el Moshe” teaches us that Hashem called to Moshe by his name. Rashi explains that the alef at the end of the word “vayikra” comes to emphasize how Hashem spoke lovingly to Moshe, in contrast to Hashem’s speaking to Bila’am, in which the word “vayikra” is spelled without the alef – vayikar (which has a connotation of a relationship that is neither permanent nor loving). Rabbi Shimshon Dovid Pincus elaborates on the idea that calling someone by name is an expression of love… The giving of a name does not stem from a general parental love. Rather, it is an expression of personal, individual love. Each child in a family is unique and is granted a specific name, exclusive to him. Every son or daughter is individually loved for the distinctive qualities he or she embodies.
We are told how Hashem, Kav’yochal, would call gently, affectionately “Moshe, Moshe” in a voice for Moshe Rabbeinu’s ears only and Moshe would respond “Here I am.” (Rashi on Sefer Vayikra, Perek 1, posuk 1 — Metsuda Linear Chumash & Rashi with footnotes)
Moshe, always shirking honor, kavod, special treatment, or the perception of special treatment, fought “tooth to nail” that this first word of our Parshat, the word which would come to typify Hashem’s greeting when he wanted to speak privately with him in the Mishkan,
should read “Vayikar.” That Moshe sought not to be perceived by Am Yisrael for all time as receiving honor, kavod and special treatment by Hashem tells much about Moshe Rabbeinu’s level of principle, integrity and his standard of leadership of B’nei Yisrael.
Hashem’s wish for “Vayikra” carried the day, although he made the concession of the small “aleph.” Rashi’s understanding of the dialogue speaks volumes about the Dar’chim of humility, modesty and selflessness of Moshe Rabbeinu; his dedication to Hashem and to the people he leads, the B’nei Yisrael. But let kindness and humility not be confused with weakness, for we learn that Moshe Rabbeinu was a strong, yet just leader.
That loshen “Vayikar” was later used when Hashem “happened to meet Bila’am” (Rashi on Sefer Vayikra, Perek 1, posuk 1) in Parsha Balak, as if Hashem’s communication with the haughty Bila’am can be likened to the theme of a TV series of yester-year; “…strangers who just met on the way”.
In past years, this author has discussed this first word of our parsha: Vayikra and why the word ends with a small “aleph.” But as we again learn our Parsha in 5776, the lessons of Vayikra need to be addressed to the haughty; to the governing political “leaders” of medinat Yisrael who could do with more than a few doses of Moshe’s humility and selflessness.
Medinat Yisrael’s governing political “elites” — the long-entrenched governmental, bureaucratic, law-enforcement, judicial, academic, journalistic and electronic media and monetary establishment powers have dumbed-down the governed by all means, even resorting to torturous interrogations and proofless “administrative detainments”, in order to disabuse the governed of their Jewish roots, history, spirituality and emunah in Hashem for no other reason than for their jealousy of the loss of their lock on all power in Israel. These establishment powers are the very ones who, day-by-day, endeavor to brainwash Israeli governed by slandering and defaming those who love and seek Jewish sovereignty over Eretz Yisrael, accusing us of “Jewish terrorism” and of “plotting the overthrow of the government” (read: the entrenched establishment) and more.
In his Sefer “Majesty of Man”, Rabbi A. Henach Leibowitz writes on our Parsha citing Rabbeinu Yonah’s explanation of the cause of haughtiness (pages 166-167):
Through this [understanding the cause of haughtiness] we can better understand its converse — humility. …Often a person feels himself lacking in knowledge or a certain quality. To compensate for this inferiority complex — small as it it may be — he denigrates his peers to make himself seem better in his own eyes. This process may take place exclusively on a subconscious level or may be manifested outwardly. In other words, haughtiness, insolence and pride are actually derived from the opposite feelings: inferiority, insignificance and shame. One who feels confident in himself has no need to denigrate others or to represent himself as something other than [who] he truly is.
From Rabbeinu Yonah we see that the essence of humility is the realistic understanding of one’s own worth. Moshe Rabbeinu was not only the greatest man of his time, but the greatest man of all time. Yet, the Torah tells us that he was the humblest man. This paradox existed within him because he knew his true value. He did not underestimate himself and therefore had no need to overestimate himself. We must realize that each of us has a soul given to us directly from Hashem. Our potential for achievement is immeasurable.
If we understand our potential as human beings we can then feel the self-confidence needed to be humble.
May we, the B’nei Yisrael be zocha that our brethren — the refugee families from Gush Katif be permanently settled and be made totally whole — be totally restituted for all that was stolen from them at leftist-agendized, supreme court legalized gunpoint, that our dear brother Jonathan Pollard be liberated and truly free — only upon his return home to Israel, and that Sholom Rubashkin, as well as the MIAs be liberated alive and returned to us in ways befitting Al Kiddush Hashem, as should the remains of the two chayalim from the Gaza War of 1 1/2 years ago. May we have the courage and strength to stand up and physically prevent the possibility of Chas V’Challila any future eviction of Jews from their homes and the handing of Jewish land over to anyone, let alone to enemies sworn to Israel’s and Judaism’s destruction and eradication. May we fulfill Hashem’s blueprint of B’nai Yisrael as a Unique people — an Am Segula, not to be reckoned with as with “the nations” and may we be zocha to see the Moshiach, the Ge’ula Shlaima, as Dov Shurin sings; “Ki Karov Yom Hashem Al’Kol HaGoyim”, the Ultimate Redemption, bimhayrah b’yamainu — speedily, in our time”, — Achshav, Chik Chuk, Miyad, Etmol!!!
Moshe Burt, an Oleh, is a commentator on news and events in Israel and Founder and Director of The Sefer Torah Recycling Network He lives in Ramat Beit Shemesh.