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 YOM KIPPUR:

View Complete List

Yom Kippur
Rabbi Berel Wein - 5772

The Fast of Gedalya
Rabbi Yehudah Prero - 5760

To Avoid the Rough Road!
Rabbi Label Lam - 5772

Looking for a Chavrusah?

Commandment of Confession
Rabbi Yehudah Prero - 5757

The Holy of Holies
Rabbi Label Lam - 5774

Ideas for Inspiration
Rabbi Yehudah Prero - 5760

> The Taste of Repentance
Rabbi Yehudah Prero - 5758

Call to Arms
Rabbi Mordechai Kamenetzky - 5758

Yom Kippur - Getting In Touch With Ourselves
Rabbi Berel Wein - 5774

Frumster - Orthodox Jewish Dating

Yom Kippur and the Pathways to Joy
Rabbi Yehudah Prero - 5756

A Fast –Fast Day
Rabbi Label Lam - 5771

A Yom Kippur to Remember
Rabbi Eliyahu Hoffmann - 5760

ArtScroll

Growing Through the Holidays: Rosh Hashana, Yom Kippur and Sukkos
Rabbi Pinchas Winston - 5774

Don't Feel So Bad When I Feel So Bad
Rabbi Label Lam - 5759

Uniquely Jewish
Rabbi Berel Wein - 5768

The Right Fit
Rabbi Raymond Beyda - 5764



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