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The Sages point out that although Man is the most important being created; and, indeed, the very purpose of the Creation itself, nevertheless he was the last thing created, rather than the first. One of the explanations they offer is that this was to teach Man humility. "If he becomes haughty," they said, "he will be told, 'even the tiny mosquito was created before you.'"

The Torah Giants of each generation excelled in this character trait, among many others. They were all extremely humble and served the community to the best of their ability. One of the uncountable stories is related by Rabbi Yitzchok Dershowitz in his classic the Legacy of Maran Rav Aharon Kotler.

Reb Aharon lived in Brooklyn and spent several days a week in Lakewood, NJ; in the famous yeshiva, Beth Medrash Govoha, which he founded and headed until he passed away in 1962.

There was a Chassidic Jew, a resident of Brooklyn, who had a serious problem. He was told that although Reb Aharon was of Lithuanian origin, to him a Jew was a Jew and he helped everyone to the best of his ability. The Chassidic fellow had never spoken to Reb Aharon, and was awed by his greatness, but his friends encouraged him to call the Rosh Yeshiva's house and ask him for his assistance.

At about 8 pm, the man summoned his strength and made the call. The Rebbetzin answered the phone and said that the Rosh Yeshiva would be home much later and that he should call again at 11pm. The man asked if he would not be disturbing them at such a late hour and the Rebbetzin assured him that it was no problem.

Promptly at 11, the man called again, feeling very uncomfortable about disturbing the great Rabbi and his wife at such a late hour. To his surprise, the Rebbetzin answered again and said that her husband had not yet arrived and that he should try again at midnight. The man asked if she was sure that he would not be disturbing them so late at night, and she reassure him that it was no problem at all.

At midnight, very hesitantly, the man called again, afraid that the Rabbi might reprimand him for calling so late. The Rosh Yeshiva softly inquired of the man what he wanted. He replied that he had a problem and that he was told that the Rabbi could help him. He asked when they could meet so that he could explain his dilemma. Reb Aharon told the man to come right over and he would be happy to speak with him. The man was astonished at the suggestion that he visit the Sage who had just come home after a long, hard day's work. He asked if he could come tomorrow or some other day, at a decent hour.

The Rosh Yeshiva replied to the man whom he did not know, "My dear friend. Obviously you have a big problem and need help. Tomorrow morning I am going to Lakewood and won't be back until the end of the week. Don't hesitate. Come over right now and if I am able to help you I'll be more than happy to do so."

Shema Yisrael Torah Network
Jerusalem, Israel