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  • Yuval Haliva

Parashat Vayikra: Moshe Rabeinu's Great Humility

Vayikra is the name of the third book in the Torah, and it is also the name of the first parasha in the third book. The word “Vayikra” translates to "And he called." The opening pasuk of this parsha reads, “וַיִּקְרָ֖א אֶל־מֹשֶׁ֑ה וַיְדַבֵּ֤ר יְהֹוָה֙ אֵלָ֔יו מֵאֹ֥הֶל מוֹעֵ֖ד לֵאמֹֽר," meaning, "And Hashem called to Moshe and spoke to him from the Tent of Meeting." The Parsha then continues to go on about different types of sacrifices made to Hashem and how they should be done. However, most people don't notice the small letter 'aleph' at the end of the word “ויקרא." What does it symbolize?

According to most of the popular commentators, this small aleph symbolizes the great humbleness of Moshe. But how? What is the correlation between these two ideas? Well, it is believed that when Hashem called out to Moshe, Moshe did not want to seem too arrogant and therefore made the aleph small. If we disregard the letter aleph, the pasuk reads “וַיִּקְרָ֖ אֶל־מֹשֶׁ֑ה וַיְדַבֵּ֤ר יְהֹוָה֙ אֵלָ֔יו מֵאֹ֥הֶל מוֹעֵ֖ד לֵאמֹֽר” which translates to “Hashem met with Moshe and spoke to him from the Tent of Meeting."

It is not a shock that the Torah continues to go on about Moshe’s humbleness numerous times. In fact, according to chapter 12 of Sefer Bamidbar, "וְהָאִ֥ישׁ משֶׁ֖ה עָנָ֣יו מְאֹ֑ד מִכֹּל֙ הָאָדָ֔ם אֲשֶׁ֖ר עַל־פְּנֵ֥י הָֽאֲדָמָֽה," meaning, “Now this man Moshe was exceedingly humble, more so than any person on the face of the earth."

There are some cases where Moshe seems to be the opposite of humble, such as when he demanded that Pharoah let his people go or when he confidently got up on Har Sinai to get the ten commandments for Bnei Israel. However, Moshe was not really acting arrogantly in these instances. Instead, they were his way of exemplifying how proud he was to be Jewish and how he was not afraid to do whatever it took to satisfy Hashem. With that being said, it is important that we learn from the ways of Moshe and strive to be as humble and brave as he was.

Shabbat Shalom!

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