Parshas VaYikra


“He called to Moshe” (1:1)

   When Moshe wrote the Torah he didn’t write it from memory or through prophecy (ruach hakodesh), rather, he was told by Hashem, “Now write the letter beis of Bereishis” and then he wrote a beis. “Now write a reish,” and he wrote a reish. “Now write an aleph,” and he wrote an aleph. “Now write a shin,” and he wrote a shin. Now write a yud,” and he wrote a yud. “Now write a taf,” and he wrote a taf. When he reached the word “Vayikra,” he was told, “Write the letter vav,” and he wrote a vav. “Yud,” and he wrote a yud. “Kuf,” and he wrote a kuf. “Reish,” and he wrote a reish. “Write an aleph,” and Moshe said, “I can’t write an aleph.” “What do you mean you can’t write an aleph? What happened to you? Write an aleph! You already wrote me the book of Bereshis and the book of Shemos. Suddenly you’re getting stubborn? Moshe, what happened to you? Write an aleph!” Moshe said, “I cannot write the aleph. The meaning of “Vayikra” is that You will call me. What, am I worthy that You should call me? Is it true that You talk to me? Who am I that You should speak to me? I am the lowest of the low. I am worse than everyone. I cannot write “Vayikra” (“He called”), let it remain “vayikar” (“He happened upon”) without an aleph, just as it is written about Bilaam, “G-d happened upon Bilaam” (Bamidbar 33:4). The same way that You speak to Bilaam, so do You speak to me. Maybe I am just another Bilaam?” The Baal HaTurim says that Moshe wanted to write only “Vayikar.” Hashem said to Moshe, “Stop arguing and write the aleph.” Moshe answered, “OK. However I will write a really small aleph. I will write a miniscule aleph.”

   Who is Moshe Rabbeinu? What is Moshe Rabbeinu? Moshe was not prepared to write the aleph because for his whole life long, he really thought he was just like Bilaam. Even during the episode with Korach, Moshe thought that he himself was Korach. While Korach thought that he himself was Moshe. Moshe went to Korach to ask his forgiveness: “Maybe I hurt your feelings?” He also went to Dasan and Aviram and said, “Maybe I didn’t behave properly. I came to ask for forgiveness.” Korach answered Moshe, “Now you come, when the whole nation is on our side.” Moshe was left without even a minyan. Truly, it was permitted for Moshe to think that he was Bilaam and that this was his level, but for other people, to think that Moshe was just a great magician like Bilaam—Hashem have mercy—this caused them to die in the desert.

   The Midrash Rabbah (Vayikra 15) says about the phrase “He called to Moshe” that from here we can learn that every talmid chacham who has no daas (intelligence) a carcass is better than him. What is called daas? What is daas? Daas means being modest and humble. Daas means that I am not worth anything. If a person thinks that he is better than someone else, he has some fleeting thought that he is better than someone else, then “a carcass is better than him.” Even Moshe Rabbeinu, the head of all the prophets, who took Israel out of Egypt and bought the 10 plagues, plus a myriad of other miracles including splitting the sea and bringing down the Torah from heaven, also going without food or water three times, each for forty days—he said, “What did I do? Who am I? Did I do anything? It wasn’t me at all—it was Hashem. I didn’t do anything.” This was Moshe. This was Moshe’s daas. Moshe learned Torah, and he knew it was a gift from Heaven. He went up to heaven and brought down the Torah. It was a gift from Hashem. If a person doesn’t have this daas, the Midrash Rabbah says, then a carcass is better than him.

   The Matok MiD’vash says that all the tzaddikim made the mishkan, deciding the details of how each and every part would be made, making kavanos and yechudim on each nail and stake—on each detail they made yechudim and kavanos. But when it came time to attach all the pieces together and build the mishkan, the pieces didn’t fit together. So they said, “Moshe, what is happening here?” Moshe answered them, “The fact of the matter is, you all could try for a million of years to build the mishkan, but you will never succeed. This is why it was written, “And Moshe built the mishkan.” Only Moshe built the mishkan—no one else could have built the mishkan. They just brought him the parts and the whole thing built itself! They just put them in Moshe’s hands and all the parts attached themselves to one another. The Matok MiD’vash says that the tzaddik is above all conception. He’s not just a person who prays a lot, prays well, learns well, goes out to the mountains and screams to Hashem—certainly through these things a person can become a tzaddik, but the matter of being the tzaddik, in the aspect of Moshe is something altogether different. We have no conception of it. Certainly it is dependent on prayers and learning, but also it is something that is beyond our ability to comprehend. Of course this level has to be achieved through Torah and prayer. But first one needs to know the whole of the Torah, and pray every single prayer with all his might, to literally almost faint with each and every word. After doing all this, the spring opens, a new level, a new sefirah. No one in the world has any idea of these levels, but the tzaddik who is the aspect of Moshe merits to achieve all of this only through his modesty and humility, only through the aspect of ayin (nothingness).

   Rabbeinu said that a person who makes teshuva will be constantly humiliated and embarrassed—everyone will ridicule him and make fun of at him—just as they did to Moshe Rabbeinu. Everyone made fun of him and ridiculed him. Everyone spoke badly about him and even so, only Moshe was able to bring down the fire, bring down the Shechina. Truthfully, in the end, only Moshe Rabbeinu, in the merit of his tiny aleph—in the merit of his modesty and humility, his truly feeling himself to be lower than everyone else—this merit survives and exists, he redeemed us from Egypt and he will redeem us again in the near future, may it be soon and in our days, Amen. 



   Master of the Universe, You can do anything, and nothing is beyond Your abilities, please help me to merit truly drawing close to the true tzaddik, with each and every breath and with each and every second. I should merit seeing him face to face. Have mercy on us that we should merit believing in the true tzaddikim always, that we shouldn’t get mixed up and let our minds and hearts become crooked. That we shouldn’t have any doubts about them at all, even when their extraordinary ways astound us so that that we have all kinds of difficulties and misgivings and we become disoriented and completely confused from all of our questions and lack of understanding. Please help us Hashem that our sins shouldn’t distance us from the tzaddikim, because it is only our many sins that are separating us and concealing from us the true tzaddikim. Please help us that we should merit doing a complete teshuva. Through our teshuva, help us to be worthy of removing all the partitions that are separating us from the tzaddikim, the foundation of the world who are the epitome of modesty and humility, since humility is the unique attribute that can bring a person to true fear of Hashem. And put into the heart of the tzaddikim that they should have mercy on us despite our sins and they should draw close to us in truth and guide us so that we should be filled with a true yearning to serve You.


B’Ohr Pnei HaMelech

   A person thinks that he is the smartest person in the world, that he knows better than everyone else, and that he has the most wisdom and understanding and intelligence. But just at the present he has no patience to put up with other people. “Oh no, don’t tell me now I’m going to have to speak to so-and-so, and even smile at him.” I can’t even stand myself, let alone smile at my children, and at my family. Not just speaking to someone and conversing with him, but even just to think good about another person and to feel for him—things that are only in the heart, the mind and the thoughts—even these things are hard for me. I can hardly even stand myself. Even if a person is really the wisest and the smartest, since, after all, he is actually a G-dly creation, and really he is from a heavenly source, from HaKadosh Baruch Hu. But HaKadosh Baruch Hu has many, many children, and each one has wisdom and understanding and knowledge. Everyone has it all. Also other people have their own styles and tastes. What do you think, that I am only your father, that I only gave wisdom, understanding and knowledge to you? Only you received a sense of justice, understanding, a perception of what is righteous and true? I gave this to all of the many millions of people, and certainly to the 600,000 and all the many many Jewish souls who are included in the 600,000. To all of them I have given. And the 600,000 themselves correspond to the 600,000 letters of the Torah. And the Torah is One. So then you all also are one unity. You don’t have to become alarmed because this is a difficult concept to appreciate. There are many things that are difficult. Even so, it’s better to deal with a genuine difficulty than with a fabricated one. A person says: “Hashem loves me. He must love me. He put me here in this world. I love Hashem. So baruch Hashem everything is great. So I am all set.” But what about your friend? “I love my friend, but I don’t love him the way he is. I love him if he will be like I am. I love him so that I can tell him how he is making mistakes—his style is not right. So now I will convince him that he should be like me. But then I notice that suddenly I have lost all my strength, I can no longer be bothered with him because he doesn’t understand what I am trying to tell him. So, enough. I will lock myself away from everybody. But suddenly I realize that I have no energy to do anything. Finally I can be alone without having to deal with the world!” But now that I am alone I have no vessel in which to receive all the light. We must be together because only this creates vessels, only then will we be capable of receiving the great light that is constantly beaming down to us.   




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