Prepared by Rabbi Stephen Texon
In this week's Torah portion "Vayikra" which begins the 3rd book of Leviticus, the Almighty "gently" calls to Moses prior to instructing him in the laws of sacrificial offerings that he is to convey to the Israelites. Moses had already followed very precise instructions regarding the construction and beautification of the Mishkan (Tabernacle) so in alerting Moses of the next very formidable task confronting him, G-d chose to "tenderly" prepare him with a gentle call. How do we interpret this as such? Our Rabbis deduce it from the small Aleph at the end of the word "Vayikra" which suggests a gentle soft voice used by the Master of the Universe to summon Moses his beloved servant, and illustrates their unique and direct relationship.
Another marvelous interpretation given by our Sages is that Moses in his humility wanted that Alef actually removed from the word altogether thus changing it's meaning to "visit" or "chance upon", in other words meet by "happenstance". Moses knew that he was G-d's chosen messenger and was in a position that no other mortal was blessed to occupy, yet he shied away from any special recognition. Therefore, a compromise was reached between the Master and His servant, and the small Alef was written into this word in the Torah accepting honor with humility thus satisfying both parties.
The wonderful lesson here in that when we are honored let us accept it graciously and with humility, not seeking it or running after it but when we are called to action in the performance of Mitzvot, religious obligations and deeds of charity and compassion, let us RUN to do them with a full heart and with intent and enthusiasm. In pursuing to honor Torah and Mitzvot, honor will then pursue us and surely find us!
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