Shabbat Nugget: Parashat Beha’alotcha

In this week’s Torah portion we have the verse “Moses was exceedingly humble more than any other person.”

Moses was the first leader of the Jewish people.  It’s most telling that the Torah tells us about Moses’ exceeding humility. This can teach us what the most important trait for a Jewish leader should be.

We find that the Torah gives Aharon the first high priest a similar compliment.  After the Torah tells us the special garments the high priest should wear on Yom Kippur and his unique service in the Temple on that day, the Torah concludes, “And Aharon did as Hashem commanded Moshe.”  Rashi comments on this verse and says “This verse is praising Aharon by telling us that he did not wear the special garments for his own aggrandizement rather with a sense of fulfilling the divine decree.”

In the Torah, we find many different divisions between people, we have for example the difference between Kohen and Levites and Israelites etc.  The reason for this is that each person has his or her own unique talents and therefore has a specific role which parallels those talents.  If all people were were of the same status, it would suppress each individual’s talents.

However, at the same time, the Torah teaches us that each individual’s unique role, whatever it might be, is crucial to the mission of the Jewish people.  Just like in the human body, we have many limbs with different functions and all of them together form a complete human being, so to each person’s contribution to the world is necessary to complete the Jewish mission of elevating the world.  In this sense there does exist equality between all people and no person is above another since however gifted one might be, the other person has necessary qualities that one does not have.


About Rabbi Pesach Scheiner

Rabbi Pesach Scheiner is the Rabbi of Boulder County Center for Judaism. In addition, he teaches extensively throughout Boulder County and is the author of "Finding the Joy in Everyday Living," a book of short chapters explaining the ways to access happiness through appreciation, gratitude, and a sense of purpose.

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