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  • Jolie Dilmanian

D'var Torah: Parashat Vayikra

In this week's parsha, Parshat Vayikra, the passuk opens up with the words “and G-D called to Moses.” The book of Vayikra is mostly composed of direct instructions from G-D himself. Moshe is in the Temple when G-D calls out to him to teach him the laws that he would like the Jewish people to know. In this phrase, the first word ends with the Hebrew letter Aleph. While this may seem insignificant, it’s important to note that the letter Aleph is very small in comparison to the other letters. In fact, if you look at any of the torah scrolls written since the time of Moshe, this small Aleph is a very common feature. So, the question is, what does the smaller Aleph symbolize?

Moshe can be viewed as being the lawmaker of the Jewish people. This role was embarrassing for him, as he naturally had a hard time speaking. However, in order for Moshe to transmit the laws, he had to achieve selflessness and humility. As the Torah says, “Moses was very humble, more than any man on the face of the earth.” This passuk teaches us that one needs to be humble, and that humiliation isn’t necessarily so bad. Moshe was able to fulfill his God-given role because he had absolutely no ego. "The presence of G-D spoke from the neck of Moses," the Rabbis say. In the opening word of the Parsha, the small Aleph reflects his humility and selflessness. The Aleph represents Moshe and all great leaders' methodology since his time.

Furthermore, the Torah is teaching us that we, too, require a sense of humility in order to receive its teachings. We must be able to pause, listen and understand. Acceptance is a trait that is needed in order to put Torah teachings into our lives. In the process of passing down these teachings to those around us and to the upcoming generations, the small aleph is required.

Shabbat Shalom!

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