Rechov Chai Taib 39, Har Nof, Jerusalem
Rabbeinu Bechaye begins his commentary on the book of Vayikra by speaking about the humility of Moshe Rabbeinu. Moshe certainly had many attributes to be proud of. He was the head of all prophets. Of his many exemplary middos however, the one that the Torah chose to praise was his humility. "The man, Moshe, was very humble," (Bamidbar 12:3). Due to his humility, he did not want to enter the Ohel Moed (Tent of Meeting surrounding the Mishkan) while the Shechina (Divine Presence) was resting there. Moshe Rabbeinu would not enter unless he was summoned. That is how Sefer Vayikra begins, "And Hashem called to Moshe." Moshe only came when he was called.
Children . . .
Humility is one of the finest attributes that we can acquire. Shlomo HaMelech tells us in Mishle (22:4) that when one attains humility, Yiras Hashem (fear of Hashem), wealth, honor, and life also come to him. How does one become humble? He should not rush to speak, have patience, honor others, and praise them. He is quiet when unflattering things are said about him. Sometimes, children, Abba and Imma have to correct our mistakes. It is not always pleasant to hear criticism. A humble person is quiet when being criticized. He listens and takes what is being said to heart. Children, the opposite of humility is that terrible, terrible middah of chutzpah. One who has chutzpah will never grow in his middos because he is not able to listen to any constructive criticism. We want to avoid chutzpah at all costs. B'ezras Hashem children, we should all acquire Moshe Rabbeinu's middah of humility.
The Medrash (Vayikra Rabba 4:6) writes that the Jewish nation is compared to a young lamb. If he receives a blow on one of his limbs, his whole body feels it. So too with our nation, when one person sins, we all feel it. The Medrash tells a story about one person's error affecting everyone. There were once several people traveling together on a boat. One of them took out a drill, and began boring a hole under his seat. His friends said to him, "What are you doing?" He replied, "Why are you concerned with what I am doing? I am only drilling under my seat, not yours." They said, "The water will come in through the hole and sink the whole ship." Of course when we hear this we all laugh. How could one person possibly think that he could drill a hole under his seat and not affect the whole ship? Everyone who is on that boat has a responsibility to the others to not endanger their safety. To drill a hole is to ignore that responsibility.
Children . . .
We are all in the same boat. "All of Klal Yisrael are all responsible for each other," (Tractate Shavuous 39a). Everything that we do affects other Jews. When we do a mitzvah, we are helping everyone: Abba, Imma, our brothers, sisters, relatives, neighbors, friends, and the entire Jewish nation. And G-d forbid, the opposite is also true. An aveyra (sin) affects everyone also. The story of the man in the boat is an example of lack of humility, children. A concerned person saw him making a mistake and wanted to correct him. How do we respond when someone wants to correct us children? One who says, "Why are you concerned with what I am doing?" is just like that silly man on the boat.
Returning Stolen Objects
The Torah (Vayikra 5:23) writes that a thief who wants to do tshuva (repentance) has a mitzvah to return the object that he stole. M. Frankel tells a story about this mitzvah in his sefer, "613 Stories on the 613 Mitzvos." There were two women in the city of Warsaw who gave their soiled clothing to a laundry woman for cleaning. Unfortunately, the poor woman passed away suddenly. The two women came to her home to collect their laundry. They found all of the clothes in one big bundle. One of the women said, "All of the laundry is mine." The other one claimed that she recognized her clothing and could separate it and take it. The heirs of the laundry woman were baffled about what to do.
They decided to bring the matter to Rav Dov Ber Meizlish. They brought all of the laundry before the Rav and explained the problem to him. He sent for the two women. They each repeated their claims to the Rav. The Rav told each woman to go home and return to Beis Din the next day. The Rav then asked his children to put some of their laundry in the pile. The next day the women returned. The Rav asked the first one, "Perhaps there is something in this pile that is not yours?" The woman inspected the whole bundle of laundry and said, "Definitely not! Everything here is mine!" The Rav turned to the second woman and said, "Can you remove your laundry from this bundle?" The woman proceeded to separate the laundry into two piles. One contained the laundry of the Rav's family along with other clothing that she did not recognize. The Rav turned to the other woman and said, "It is not true that all of the laundry is yours. You attempted to steal from the other woman. You should be satisfied with what you have, and not steal from others."
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