Rabbi Shmuel Brazil
Moshe Rabbeinu the Model for Am Yisroel | Parshas Re'eh
Updated: Aug 6, 2021
The parsha begins with the passuk ראה אנכי נותן לפניכם היום ברכה וקללה . The word ראה which means "see" is in the singular form which is in contrast to the following word לפניכם "before you" which is in the plural? Everyone who desires to accomplish and achieve a desired goal must be driven in order to succeed and attain it. This driving force in Man is called ambition or שאיפה. This word is composed of two parts, the letters of אש which means fire, and the word יפה to beautify. One who has aשאיפה , possesses a fire within himself to igniting him to attain a better and enhanced look and image of himself and a more qualitative life. Achievements and milestones not only fill one with self esteem, they casue the people within his environment to also view him with admiration and pride. Having someone as their model of virtue to emulate, fuels this ambition to reach greatness. For following in the paths of individuals who have accomplished greatness whether in the past or present, will help one to actualize his own drive to also achieve his goals and fulfill his potential. Concerning this concept of growth by having a model of greatness to serve and inspire oneself, Rav Hutner zt"l wrote a criticism of Gedolim biographies that talk about their righteousness and learning, yet never mention their failures and shortcomings which they definitely had. By exclusively focusing and elaborating on their great accomplishments, the authors thereby rob most readers from their quest of emulating and seeking to attain such levels. They are no match to the long streak of uninterrupted successes that these gedolim experienced during their lives from their youth. If we could only read about their challenges and frustrations, the bad and off hours or days that they too experienced in their upward growth, we would have a deeper motivation and commitment to rise to loftier heights instead of remaining on automatic pilot because we have given up on reaching such goals. With all this being said, according to some meforshim, the greatest leader of Klal Yisrael Moshe Rabbeinu was born with the worst middos a person could possibly possess. Yet with all this baggage he nevertheless overcame and repaired all of his lacking until he became the leader of Am Yisrael who gave us the Torah at Har Sinai and was the greatest prophet of Yisrael (Tiferes Yisrael, commentary at the end of Mishnayis Kiddushin). Chazal write that Moshe Rabbeinu embodied all 600,000 souls of Am Yisrael. If so there is a spark of Moshe in every Yid. Therefore every one has within his power to achieve great heights with the help from the spirit and inspiration he receives from Moshe who went from the lowest level to the highest. This could be the interpretation of the passuk of אשרי העם שככה לו . The meforshim say that שככה is gematriah משה . Lucky is the nation who has a leader such as Moshe. According to our interpretation this statement portrays that our greatest leader attained his outstanding qualities from overcoming and conquering his yetzer harah and middos and not by being born "on top of the mountain". By possessing his spark and spirit within ourselves, we too can overcome our challenges and achieve greatness even though at times we might falter and fail (Rambam Hilchos Teshuvah 5,2). The word שככה describes Moshe for this word also means to rest from anger as found in the passuk וחמת המלך שככה . Growing up Moshe Rabbeinu's yetzer harah was always boiling from the worst middos in the world. Yet through his avodah he subdued his anger and removed it from interfering with his growth of avodas Hashem and fulfilling his potential. He epitomizes the power of שככה which is gematriah משה thereby creating in Klal Yisrael the ability of quieting their personal storm of the yetzer hara. In the first passuk Moshe was revealing to Klal Yisrael ראה אנכי take a good look at me משה, my life, and my struggles, where I was and where I am today (see Ohr HaChayim). This is hinted to in the gematriah of ראה אנכי היום with the kollel, which equals משה with its three letters. This presentation to Yisrael of Moshe's past and present status demonstrated a life of ברכה וקללה in that he was a born קללה cursed with bad middos, and yet he succeeded to become a source of ברכה not only to himself but to Am Yisrael as well. Moshe was telling Klal Yisrael that if he was able to extricate himself from such lowness and failures, they too have the same ability to use me as your model to strive for beracha and excellence in avodas Hashem. Moshe added ראה in the singular even though he was speaking to the public as expressed in the word לפניכם. He was telling Yisrael that he was addressing every single person not just a group. That every individual can draw strength from him and use him as model to repair his personal shortcoming no matter how many they are, and climb his personal mountain to Hashem. The number of this year is תשפ"א which spells the verb תשאפ which means you should have a שאיפה ambition. If you find yourself unmotivated until now, it is the year and time to fan your spark of Moshe Rabbeinu that lies dormant within yourself and start moving in the right direction.
-Rabbi Shmuel Brazil