|Moshe - The Most Humble Man
Published: Monday, May 24, 2021 10:28:46 PM
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The Torah states in Parshat Behaaloscha “The man Moshe was exceedingly humble, more than any other person on the face of the earth.” (Bamidbar 12:3)
Rashi defines the word ענו as humble, patient, and tolerant. His sister Miriam and his brother Aaron criticized him for separating from his wife and felt that what he did was improper by divorcing Tzipora. But since Miriam was the one who spoke lashon hara about Moshe to her brother Aaron, she was afflicted with Tzaras.
What was Moshe’s reaction to this criticism from his siblings? The answer is silence! Because the true mark of humility is the ability to accept criticism and be a tolerant person, even to those who mistreat and verbally abuse him.
Although Moshe was the greatest navi of Klal Yisrael, and was aware of his uniqueness, he was nonetheless the most humble person who ever lived. Because he realized that his achievements and abilities and level of prophecy were given to him by G‑d, thus he had no right to feel arrogant for doing what he was capable of.
The Rambam in Hilchos Tshuva states that it is the trait of a Baal Tshuva to be humble and tolerant. If he wants to rectify his sins against G‑d and man, he should contemplate his many short comings and character flaws. The Chofetz Chaim says that an arrogant person is seriously deficient in intelligence. Had he made an accounting of his failures and shortcomings, he would come to the conclusion that there was nothing to be haughty and arrogant about. The verse in Tehillim 93 says “Hashem has reigned. He has clothed Himself in grandeur.” When a human being acts in such a manner he is in effect donning the kingly garb of his Creator.
Our father Abraham said about himself “I am but dust and ashes.” (Bereshis 18:27) The greatest teacher and prophet Moshe described himself “For what are we?” King David said about himself in Tehillim 22, “But I am a worm and not a man.” Mashiach is described by the Prophet Zechariah in chapter 9 as a humble person riding on a donkey. If so, how can we act in a conceited and prideful manner?
At Matan Torah, Klal Yisrael experienced the grandeur of Hashem and their own insignificance. As we read this parsha shortly after Shavuot, it is a time to contemplate the vital importance of this trait of humility and tolerance.