Torah.org Home Subscribe Services Support Us
  LifeLine
Print Version

Email this article to a friend

Vayishlach

by Rabbi Yaakov Menken


"I have been diminished by all of the kindness and the truth which you have done for your servant, for I crossed this Jordan [River] with my staff, and now I have become two camps." [32:11]

When things go well for a person, when he or she "gets lucky," it is considered normal for a person to be very proud of him- or herself. We all talk about the "self-made man" and how wonderful it is to be one. And, of course, it's very nice to be a "success story" -- the problem occurs when we take credit for it.

The Torah condemns anyone who says "my might and the strength of my hand have made for me all this wealth." [Deut. 8:17] Pride and haughtiness are the very opposite of what G-d wants from us. As the Talmud tells us [Sota 5a], G-d says concerning a person who becomes haughty: "he and I cannot coexist in one world."

The Sfas Emes points out that Yaakov is displaying the very opposite behavior. Many commentators translate the beginning of our verse as "I am too small" -- I have always been small, been undeserving. But Rashi says "I have been diminished," meaning "I am even smaller than I was before."

The Sfas Emes says that whenever G-d bestows His kindness upon a person, this should bring that person to greater humility, embarrassment before G-d, and recognition of one's own lowly status. How is this possible? He answers: if a person will think and understand how completely unworthy he or she is, and then look at all the great kindness which HaShem has shown him or her nonetheless, then it is easy.

Our problem is that we assume we "deserve" it. We think this is the way it is supposed to be. We forget that, as we read in the Prayers on Shabbos and holiday mornings, we cannot thank G-d even for one of the thousands and thousands of things that He does for each and every one of us.

How often do we stop and thank G-d -- for breathing?


 

ARTICLES ON PINCHAS AND THE THREE WEEKS:

View Complete List

'Standing in' for Hashem
Rabbi Yisroel Ciner - 5757

The Time is Now!
Rabbi Pinchas Avruch - 5763

Human Sacrifice
Rabbi Berel Wein - 5764

Looking for a Chavrusah?

What Are We Mourning on the Ninth of Av
Rabbi Yosef Kalatzky - 5765

Going Against the Flow
Rabbi Pinchas Winston - 5759

Role Model
Rabbi Raymond Beyda - 5764

ArtScroll

Dare to Care
Rabbi Label Lam - 5766

Standing Up to the Prevailing Winds
Rabbi Yissocher Frand - 5758

Faithful Contentment
Rabbi Naphtali Hoff - 5774

Frumster - Orthodox Jewish Dating

Second Guessing Pinchas
Rabbi Yissocher Frand - 5759

Tzelafchad's Daughters Were Motivated By The Land, Not The Money
Rabbi Yissocher Frand - 5765

Learning to Love What Is!
Rabbi Label Lam - 5767

> The Sword is Mightier than the Pen
Rabbi Dovid Green - 5758

Kamtza and Bar-Kamtza
Rabbi Yisroel Ciner - 5758

Paradigm of Peace
Rabbi Label Lam - 5764

A Double-Edged Sword
Rabbi Naftali Reich - 5772



Project Genesis

Torah.org Home


Torah Portion

Jewish Law

Ethics

Texts

Learn the Basics

Seasons

Features

TORAHAUDIO

Ask The Rabbi

Knowledge Base




Help

About Us

Contact Us



Free Book on Geulah!




Torah.org Home
Torah.org HomeCapalon.com Copyright Information