Dvar Torah for Parshat Tetzaveh


Based on Likutey Moharan II, 8

As you were reading this week's parsha (weekly Torah portion) I'm sure you noticed something interesting. This is the only parhsa not in the Book of Genesis in which the name of Moshe Rabbeinu (Moses our Teacher) does not appear. One reason for this is that after the sin of the golden calf (next week's parsha) Moshe Rabbeinu prayed to Hashem (God) that He pardon the Jews for their sin. "...but if not, erase me from Your book" (Exodus 32:32). Though Hashem did forgive the sin, the words of a tzaddik are so powerful they have an affect even if predicated on a condition. And so Moshe Rabbeinu's name does not appear in the parsha.

This "disappearing act," one example of Moshe Rabbeinu's humility, is a result of his compassion. Moshe Rabbeinu was in a difficult situation. The Jews had been guilty of a grave sin and the Almighty had said that He was going to wipe them out! Did Moshe Rabbeinu say, "What can I do? I'm so insignificant, God'll never pay any attention to me" or "Argue with the Creator? Me?" No.

Moshe Rabbeinu knew that humility doesn't mean self-deprecation or proclaiming self-fulfilling prophecies of how you'll never amount to much spiritually. Humility means knowing that yours is a precious, powerful soul capable of becoming evermore holy.

Fortunately for us Moshe Rabbeinu's humility was coupled with another trait we Jews are noted for our: compassion. Genuine compassion for oneself is keeping away from sin and optimizing mitzvah performance. It is genuine because it focuses on our permanent abode, the next world. We must be careful to not let the Sitra Achra (Other Side) leech from our compassion and distort it. Its compassion says to make sure you're nice and comfy in this world. He knows that if you follow his advice, God forbid, you'll get more and more involved in this world at the expense of your preparations for the next. But the Sitra Achra never guarantees success.

We live the wrong kind of humility and compassion because we're afflicted by mochin d'katnut (constricted or immature/childish consciousness). How do we grow out of it and achieve mochin d'gadlut (expanded or mature/adult consciousness)? We need to find someone who can reprove us in such a way that our souls become more fragrant rather than more repugnant. We need to find someone who can strengthen our belief in Hashem and in ourselves. We have to ask Hashem to allow us to find such an individual whose teachings will open our eyes to see the beauty and power of the soul and how totally foreign sin is to us. When we understand this lesson we will able to retrieve much of the kedushah (holiness) that we have lost over the years.

But such a precious teacher, like anything precious, demands a high price, a tremendous amount of effort to find him. And to keep him. May we do so soon! Amen!

agutn Shabbos!
Shabbat Shalom!