Vol 13.06 - Behaalotecha 2 Spanish French Audio Video
(5733) (Num. 12:3): "And the man Moses was exceedingly humble etc" - The boundary of the humbleness of Moshe, and the Siyum of Tractate Sotah: "R. Joseph said to the tanna: "Do not include when reciting this Mishnah the word 'humility', because there is I" R. Nahman said to the teacher: "Do not include 'fear of sin', because there is I"
1. The verse: “Now this man Moses was exceedingly humble, more so than any person on the face of the earth” is seemingly not understandable at all.
For Moshe received the Torah from Sinai and G-d taught him Torah for forty days and nights and gave it to him as a present. And before this - he took the Bnei Yisroel out of Egypt and G-d told him that Bnei Yisroel would believe in him forever. And even here in our Parsha it recounts that, at any time, he was able to communicate with the Divine Presence. We are further told that Moshe bestowed the spirit that was upon him on the seventy elders and yet he did not lack from this bestowal etc. – We also learn that his comparison to the people was like a nurse that carries the suckling etc., Therefore, how is it possible that he was more humble than any person etc.?!
The reason is explained in that:
“Even though Moshe knew his qualities and that his stature was above everyone else, nevertheless he was humbler than other people in that he realized that that all aspects of his qualities, in which his stature was above everyone else, was (only) because this was given to him from Above. And he reasoned that if these qualities would have been given to another, that person would also have these qualities, and it is possible that the other person, who possessed these qualities, would have revealed them to a greater extent. Therefore he was more humble than everyone else”
From the language of this explanation it is understood that, the aforementioned explanation, that “(the man Moses) was exceedingly humble” is not different from the simple interpretation, and refers to submissiveness (hachna’ah) before everyone.
· Therefore the explanation that “He knew that all aspects of his qualities . . was given to him from Above” is only a reason for the negation of his ego over his qualities over others –
· And when he adds: “and it is possible that another person, who possessed these qualities, would have revealed them to a greater extent” –is a reason that would obligate his submissiveness to others.
But according this one needs to understand:
The main quality of Moshe compared to other people on the face of the earth was in the aspect of prophecy. As is cited in our Parsha regarding the great quality of the prophecy of Moshe Rabbeinu, so much so that: “There has never arisen a prophet among the Jewish people like Moshe”.
Prophecy, however, is not an aspect that comes through the Avodah of a person, but rather it is a quality and a revealed level that is given from Above. It is not fitting to say that another person would reveal those powers to a greater extent.
Therefore, why was Moses “exceedingly humble, more so than any person on the face of the earth. etc.” when in his main aspect (prophecy) he was higher than other people?
2. This can be explained by prefacing that which is cited at the end of Tractate Sotah, in the Mishnah there:
“When Rebbi (R’ Yehudah HaNasi) died, humility and fear of sin ceased”.
The Talmud comments:
· R’ Yosef said to the Tanna (the author of the Mishnah), do not include (when reciting this Mishnah) the word 'humility', because there is I.
· R’ Nachman said to the teacher, do not include 'fear of sin', because there is I.”
One must understand:
Both R’ Yosef and R’ Nachman were in the same generation, and it is logical to say that each one recognized the qualities of his colleague.
As we find that R’ Yosef said concerning R’ Nachman that he could “expound on these verses like (they were given at) “Sinai”. And R’ Nachman gave to R’ Yosef the application “Sinai” (i.e. that he was completely versed in the Torah that was given at Sinai)
Therefore why did each one choose the quality of just himself, and not say to the “tanna” ) (“Do not include) the entire statement: “humility and fear of sin ceased”, because we have all those qualities? For if it is speaking about one’s personal quality – how much more so should it speak about his colleagues quality.
However, since each one states: “Do not include” referring to a specific quality (and not to the entire statement – ‘when Rebbi died etc.) they must hold that the second quality was (indeed) nullified:
· 'humility according to R. Nachman
· 'fear of sin' according to R. Yosef
Yet we learn in the Beraita of R’ Pinchas ben Yair that “'humility' leads to the 'fear of sin'”. In other words, through humility one comes to an even higher trait - 'fear of sin'. Therefore it is difficult according to the view of R’ Nachman – for how is it possible that the inferior quality (humility) ceased (when Rebbe died) at the same time that the superior quality ('fear of sin') did not cease?
3. Seemingly, one could answer that R’ Nachman follows the opinion of R’ Yehoshua ben Levi that humility is greater than ‘fear of sin. (Also) in the view of the Talmud Yerushalmi in tractate Shekalim it states plainly (according to the rendition of Tosafot) that “‘fear of sin (precedes and) leads to humility“. Therefore, R’ Nachman could well have the opinion that humility ceased yet not ‘fear of sin (which is inferior to it).
According to this, one could say that the dispute between R’ Yosef and R’ Nachman (in stating) “Do not include humility” or “Do not include ‘fear of sin ” - is dependent on the aforementioned debate:
· R’ Yosef states that fear of sin ceased and not humility , because he maintains that ‘fear of sin is greater than humility
· R’ Nachman states that only humility ceased because he maintains the opposite – that humility is a greater level than fear of sin
But it is difficult to say so:
For even though “not actually seeing something is not proof that it does not exist” (Lo ra'inu aino raya) (Note: meaning that we have not explicitly seen that R’ Yosef and R’ Nachman follow these opinions), Nevertheless it has never been explicitly mentioned anywhere (lo ishtamitsei) that R’ Yosef and R’ Nachman actually argue along the same lines as their predecessors: R’ Pinchas ben Yair and R’ Yehoshua ben Levi.
(Concerning R’ Nachman and R’ Yosef) we find that:
· R’ Nachman was among the pious of Bavel (chasidei Bavel)
· Whereas R’ Yosef was “Sinai” (which refers to) (bnei Ma’arava – the west/ Yerushalayim).
However, we see that:
· R’ Yosef who holds that only ‘fear of sin ceased, follows the opinion of (Talmud) Bavli.
· And R’ Nachman who holds that only humble ceased – follows the opinion of the (Talmud) Yersushalmi!
Yet, according to the above (their philosophical views), it should have been the opposite!
It is understood that there is no burden to say that the views of R’ Yosef (being “Sinai”) must always be accordance with the (Talmud) Yersushalmi, nor that the views of R’ Nachman (being of the “chasidei Bavel”) must always be accordance with the (Talmud) Bavli. (For although both lived in Bavel, the above represents their philosophical views) –
Yet, at the same time, it is illogical to say that the dispute between R’ Yosef and R’ Nachman would be contrary to their (philosophical) outlook.
4. This can be understood by prefacing the well-known difficulty of the saying of R’ Yosef: “Do not include (in this Mishnah) the word 'humility', because there is I”.
The fact that R’ Yosef is praising himself with the trait of humility
(and as Rashi states: “for I am humble )
is the very opposite of humility ?
Yet the explanation is that:
“The definition of humility is not as the world understands it, that it refers to Shiflus (lowliness or low self-esteem) because the definition of Shiflus is that one knows and recognizes his worth and his lowliness in that he is low among others (Shafal anashim), In other words, it refers to one who truly (feels) devoid of qualities (whether he has them or is not aware of them)
But the true aspect (of humility ) is that (as aforementioned concerning the humility that Moshe possessed) he is a person possessing qualities and he is aware of their worth - yet at the same time is not egotistical about them whatsoever, and he does consider it to be a personal merit. And the reason is (as mentioned in paragraph 1) is because he knows that his superior strengths and abilities are completely given to him by G-d. And he therefore contemplates that: “if these qualities would have been given to another, that person would also have these qualities, and it is possible that another person, who possessed these qualities, would have revealed them to a greater extent”
Accordingly, one could say regarding the humility of R’ Yosef that:He was aware of his quality of humility. Nevertheless he did not consider it to be personal merit etc. On the contrary, he reasoned that if his strengths and abilities would have been given to another, that person
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