A Free gift - Hitbodedut

Parashat Behar / by: Rabbi Dror Moshe Cassouto

There is no doubt that there’s a very special and deep meaning from heaven as to why parshat Behar falls during the same week as Lag B’Omer;  when all of Am Yisrael goes to Har (the mountain) of Maron to the gravesite of Rebbe Shimon Bar Yochai.  We remember the argument that the mountains had among each other as to which mountain would have the merit to have the Torah given on it.  One would have thought that HaShem would choose the highest and greatest mountain. Ultimately though, HaShem chose Mount Sinai; it was the smallest of them all.  It was the only mountain that knew it had no chance of winning that competition and yet it was chosen despite it’s apparent “lacking.”

The tzadik (the righteous man) like Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochai is just like Har Sinai and Moshe Rabbeinu; he considers himself to be low.  Even though he’s the wisest leader, most powerful, kind, sensitive and holiest person in Am Yisrael, whose merit is equal to all of the Jewish nation and yet he still holds himself as being the lowliest.

Every person needs to hold on that level.  On one hand we need to be strong, take control, be a leader, say our opinion (when necessary), not be afraid to make decisions and take responsibility (which can “come off” as being arrogant) but at the same time, remind ourselves that ultimately everything that we receive is from HaShem.  Until the last day of Moshe’s life, whenever he would pray to HaShem, he would always ask that HaShem answer him as a free gift and not because of any of his previous accomplishments like speaking to HaShem face-to-face, receiving the Torah, leading the Jewish people out of Egypt and splitting the sea.  He always felt that he was unworthy and remembered that everything that he had was a gift from heaven.

In conclusion, on that day of Lag B’Omer and during the remaining holy days of sefirat haomer, we should add in our hitbodedut a certain request that by the merit of the huge righteous people; Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochai, Rabbi Akiva and his 24,000 students, and all of the real tzadikim of all of the generations, we should also come to believe in ourselves.  However, we must never forget that everything we accomplish is because of HaShem’s HaShem loving kindness.  We should all merit to receive the Torah from desert as a free gift.

Shabbat Shalom U’Mevorach