| Parshah |

Suits Me

A child can rely on his parents’ guidance as Heavenly advice

 

“And He called to Moshe and Hashem spoke to him from the Ohel Moed, saying.” (Vayikra 1:1)

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he Kli Yakar discusses why the alef in the first word, Vayikra, is small. The Midrash says we see here the difference between the neviim of Bnei Yisrael and those of the nations. When Hashem appeared to Bilaam (Bamidbar 23:4), it says Vayikar, without any alef. This word shares a root with mikreh, coincidence. The fact that Bilaam received prophecy was “coincidental” — not due to his worthiness. He was like a recording device; he repeated Hashem’s word, but it had no impact on him.

Conversely, as the Rambam explains (Hilchos Dei’os 287), a Jewish navi works to elevate himself to the level that he merits Vayikra — Hashem calls to him directly. (Adapted from Lekach Tov)

True confession: I despise shopping. Endless racks of clothing, bright lights, and infinite stores mean interminable decisions and struggles. Malls equal migraines and sales make me quail. But confession number two: I take my kids shopping. Am I a masochist? No, I’m a mother.

Every shopping trip is an occasion for bonding time, an exclusive opportunity to convey priorities and perspectives that would be lost if I just handed out the season’s wardrobe without any input from the kids.

The Kli Yakar says the small alef here shows there was also an element of coincidence when Hashem spoke to Moshe. Why? Wasn’t Moshe the most worthy of all neviim?

This teaches us that Moshe received nevuah only because he was a conduit to convey Hashem’s word — for Klal Yisrael’s sake, not his own. Therefore, after the Eigel, Hashem said to him, “Go down.” Descend from your exalted position, He told him, because the only reason you’re a navi is to keep Bnei Yisrael close to Me.

Hashem gives nevuah and ruach hakodesh to each generation’s leaders to help Bnei Yisrael continue to thrive. Just like a bird cannot fly without wings, so too we cannot grow without our tzaddikim and gedolim.

Take last month. Avi needed a new davening jacket. He was starting a growth spurt, and all the items I’d labored to purchase a few months ago were now collecting dust in his closet. We entered a suit store.

“Nothing here,” muttered Avi the minute we opened the door.

“You can’t look at every jacket in 0.3 seconds! They’re all black or blue. How can you tell already you don’t like them?”

Confession number three: I often forget pre-shopping resolutions and put in my two cents. (Never argue with a teenager. Save your energy.)

Many stores later, Avi pronounced his find as the perfect jacket. Mother was skeptical. Were the lapels too small? The buttons too large? I couldn’t put my finger on why, but I just didn’t like it. Yet it had taken hours to get this close to something he’d agreed to buy.

“All the boys are wearing jackets like this,” he insisted. (Words like this are an attempt to make Mother feel that all other moms out there get it except for her.)

“I have an idea.” Inspiration hit. “Let’s buy the jacket, but before you wear it, bring it to your rosh yeshivah, and ask him what he thinks.”

“I should ask the rosh yeshivah if he likes my jacket?” (Why do teens make us feel like we’re speaking a foreign language?)

Obviously, Avi wasn’t crazy about the idea. But I wasn’t crazy enough to continue shopping for the elusive exclusive jacket.

The Yismach Yisrael Mei’Alexander adds that the father in each family is like the rav of a congregation. Every man is a king in his household. Consider the massive responsibilities of a monarch — daily finances, security, justice. Consider, therefore, the tremendous responsibility resting upon the shoulders of every parent — daily parnassah, security, peace. They must supervise the entire household to inspire and direct, without pressure and tension.

What a responsibility! What a mission! How can parents be equipped for such a task? They’re granted extra strength from Above to ensure their success. A child can rely on his parents’ guidance as Heavenly advice.

The next day Avi came home, wearing the jacket and a pleased expression on his face. “The rosh yeshivah said the jacket’s fine. And he said he was proud of me for asking a sh’eilah on something like buying clothes.”

Mission accomplished. Coming up next… the quest for the best vest.

(Originally featured in Family First, Issue 686)

 

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