This week's parsha can be viewed from a psychological perspective, as is
beautifully illucidated in the book "Growth Through Torah", by Rabbi
Zelig Pliskin. We can learn some important lessons for life from
Pharaoh's negative example. The Torah states in Exodus (10:3) the
following verse. "And Moshe and Aharon came to Pharaoh and they said to
him, this is what G-d, the Lord of the Hebrews said, how long will you
refuse to humble yourself before Me? Let my people go and they shall
serve Me." It appears that arrogance was the issue that was causing
Pharaoh to act in self-defeating ways. He sees with his own eyes that his
kingdom is being destroyed, yet he continues in his stubborn refusal to
send the Children of Israel out to serve G-d. What possessed him?
Rabbainu Bachya, a medieval commentator writes that G-d requests a person
to submit his will to that of G-d's. This requires humility. Pharaoh was
arrogant, and could not bring himself to be humble before G-d. As a
result, he caused his own downfall.
Arrogance is a character flaw which causes many people problems.
Arrogance causes people to retaliate against those who may have slighted
them in some way. A humble person would remain silent, and end the matter
right there. Arrogance causes a person to prolong a quarrel ad nauseum.
A humble person would ask forgiveness when he/she is in the
wrong, even if he/she feels the other person is more to blame. An
arrogant person will not ask forgiveness even when he/she knows deep down
that he/she is at fault.
A humble person reaches out for help when in need. An arrogant
person finds it beneath his dignity to show vulnerability and weakness by
asking for help, and chooses to suffer rather than "belittle" himself.
The Torah teaches us that we should introspect, and be honest
with ourselves. How do we cause ourselves problems through arrogance? How
can we improve our own lives by recognizing what our own arrogance causes
and correcting it?
Text Copyright © 1997 Rabbi Dovid Green and
Project Genesis, Inc.