A WEEKLY TORAH THOUGHT FROM RABBI MORDY
This week’s Parsha, Behar, contains various laws, including that of the Sabbatical and Jubilee years. What I would like to focus on, however, is the name of the Parsha. “Behar” means “on the mountain,” which indicates its significance; the laws of the Torah were communicated to Moses on Mt. Sinai. But why is the parsha named “on the mountain” if the place such an auspicious one? Why don’t we call this Parsha “Sinai”?
In true Jewish fashion, there’s more to the story. Mt. Sinai’s significance as the ideal spot for the giving of the Torah offers a foundational lesson; it’s based on the Midrash commentary and one of the first that children are taught. This commentary states that G-d sought a mountain for this unprecedented occasion and various mountains “competed” for the honor. Think of it as “The Bachelor” for mountains?
“I am prettiest,” “I am biggest!” etc. According to the Midrash, along came Mt. Sinai and said that it really wasn’t worthy of anything; it was small and insignificant. Based on that quality, G-d chose Sinai to teach the importance of humility.
Now let’s take that a step further. Humility? Mountains? If we’re really looking for humility let’s choose a valley or a plain, not a mountain, which by definition stands out!
Therein lies the lesson of this week’s Parsha. Yes, it’s important to have humility, but it’s also important to have self-worth. You need to stand for something, believe in something and have the confidence to speak up for it. Humility is essential but, as a friend of mine says, “If you don’t stand for something, you’ll fall for anything.” And that is the lesson of the small mountain. Good Shabbos!