From The Editor – Vayikra – The Small Aleph

Moshe is known as the humblest man that walked the earth. The Torah testifies to this. The greatest proof to Moshe’s humility comes by way of the enigmatic verse in the Parsha Vayelech, that Moshe “walked.” All the meforshim ask, where did Moshe go? One approach is that the great leader, Moshe, went individually to all the tribes.

We see further evidence of Moshe’s humility when he visited Rabbi Akiva’s shiur and sat in the “eighth” row (in the “back” of the room).

The most well-known verse that “seems” to indicate Moshe’s humility is, “And God called to Moshe, and spoke to him out of the Tent of Meeting, saying…” (Leviticus 1:1), where the word Vayikra ends with a small aleph.

One must be careful to realize there are two parties in this verse, Moshe and G-d. The Baal Haturim chooses to interpret the small aleph as indicating Moshe’s humility in that Moshe wanted to use a language of “Vayikar” that G-d only coincidentally appeared to him like Bilaam.

However, the Chasam Sofer asks a stunning question on this. Did Moshe have the right to “edit” the Bible? Is G-d not the editor-in-chief of the Torah? This is a powerful question that must be addressed.

I would suggest that the small aleph is referring to G-d, Himself. G-d was the architect and final editor of the Bible, and it was G-d when calling Moshe in the Ohel Moed who wanted to emphasize his own existence with a small aleph, after all aleph stands for “Echad” one.

This can be why the Torah begins with the letter beis, Breishis, and not an aleph, because G-d didn’t want to start with an identification of Himself, but rather with His Briah. This was a G-d that “so to speak” took counsel with the angels in creating the world just to exhibit the importance of humbling oneself to inquire of others.

It’s no surprise then that Moshe was the humblest man that ever lived. He enjoyed “company” with the humblest of beings, G-d. He conversed with Him “Face to Face” which Rashi explains means Moshe had a level of ease in talking with G-d. They shared a familiarity with each other and of course Moshe was taught the Torah in Heavens from G-d, Himself.


From The Editor – When Adar Arrives – An Insight From Rav Avrohom Genechovsky Zt’l

My late relative, Rav Avraham Genechovsky zt”l, provided me with the following phenomenal drash relating to Purim. The Gemara (Taanis 29a) states, “Mishenichnas Adar Marbim Bisimcha – when Adar arrives, one should rejoice.” Rav Avraham related this to another Gemara (Beitzah 15b) that says, “One who plants a tree called ‘Adar’ is guaranteed that his property will endure.” Therefore, as Adar is symbolic of happiness, we may say that one who “plants” happiness into his heart will endure.

I heard a topically related thought from Rabbi Kornfeld shlita, rosh kollel of Kollel Iyun Hadaf in Israel. The Gemara says, “A pumpkin is only shown in a dream to one who fears Heaven with all his might” (Berachos 56b). He explained the meaning of this passage in profound fashion. The characteristic of a pumpkin is that the more it grows the deeper it sinks into the ground. So too, the true sign of one who fears G-d is that as he grows and becomes greater, he sinks lower into the ground, ensconced in humility.

In summation, planting happiness within and falling in humility as you grow could be the right plan to prosper.


From The Editor – Yitro – A Banner Of Reality

The Torah uses the language, “vayichad Yitro.” The language is telling. It immediately thrusts the notion forward that he believed in “chad,” the oneness of G-d, and like Rashi explains, he felt great joy and inspiration from G-d’s mighty miracles and revelations. Furthermore, the name “Yitro” if rearranged can be read as “Tori,” metaphorically to mean my Torah, as Yitro became an individual banner for the Torah.

Yitro has a parsha named after him for good reason. He reached perfection without having to face an alternate reality. His fantasies were truly glorious and majestic, and he went on to become a key figure to alter how G-d’s law was administered, not a coincidence for someone who could tune into reality with no interference.


From The Editor – Parsha Beshalach – The Language Of Free Will

Beshalach is the culmination of Pharoh’s directive to let Bnei Yisroel leave Mitzraim. It must be noted that the Torah identifies this as a leaving by means of “shelach,” a term of free will as in the Parsha of the meraglim, when G-d says to Moshe “shlach lecha,” denoting that the sending of the spies was a “free will” decision on Moshe’s part. So too Pharoh reached a level of “shlach,” letting Bnei Yisroel leave out of his own voluntary free will.

Up until Beshalach, Pharoh uses the language of “lechu” when he tells Bnei Yisroel to temporarily leave Mitzraim and serve their G-d. Lechu is a forced directive as we find by Avraham where G-d commands him “lech lecha.” Similarly, in this case, Pharoh was doing this out of forced will and not free will.

Though G-d still hardens Pharoh’s heart in the last instance when he pursues the nation of Israel to the sea, we do nevertheless see an act of free will by Pharoh in being meshalech Bnei Yisroel from Egypt. This could be a frame of reference to understand his capacity of doing teshuva, and ultimately, in his final rule, leading Ninveh to do teshuva.