Wednesday, July 1, 2009

178 - Beha'aloscha

Toward the end of this week's parsha, the Torah recounts how Miriam spoke against her brother Moshe. She questioned Moshe's decision to separate from his wife, declaring, "Does Hashem speak only with Moshe; does He not speak also with us?" To which Hashem responded, "It is through a revelation that Hashem appears to a prophet; in a dream I speak with him. This is not so with regard to my servant Moshe; in My entire house he is the trusted one. I speak to him mouth to mouth, via a vision and not through riddles, and he visualizes the image of Hashem. And why were you not afraid to speak against My servant Moshe?" (Bamidbar 12, 6-8)
Chazal explain (Yevamos 49b) the difference between Moshe's prophecy and the prophecy of all other prophets. While all the prophets perceived Hashem's word through an "aspaklaria sh'eina m'eira" (an indistinct aspaklaria), Moshe received his prophecy through an "aspaklaria ha'meiria" (a clear aspaklaria). The Bartenura (Keilim 30, 2) explains aspaklaria as a mirror.
Rav Wolbe (Alei Shur vol. II pg.76) explains the meaning behind Chazal's words. The Ramchal writes that the makeup of a human parallels the attributes of the Creator. Because Hashem wishes to reveal Himself in a manner that people can comprehend, He therefore formed human beings in a fashion somewhat similar to the image He wishes to convey. For example, one who perfects the middah of chessed will be able to comprehend Hashem's chessed to the greatest degree humanly possible. To the extent that one perfects his character, he will be able to perceive Hashem since his spiritual makeup will reflect Hashem's attributes no different than a mirror reflects one's own image.
Moshe Rabbeinu perfected each and every middah of his to the nth degree, thereby polishing his spiritual mirror in such a way that allowed him to perceive Hashem with the utmost clarity possible i.e. b'aspaklaria ha'meira. In contrast, every other prophet lacked perfection in one or more of his character traits. Each flaw acts as a smudge which clouds the mirror and allows for only an indistinct perception of the Creator - an unclear aspaklaria. Miriam was a great woman and a prophet in her own right. However, she still could not compare with the spiritual perfection and prophetic abilities attained by her brother Moshe.
Chazal's description of Moshe's prophecy gives us a glimpse of the greatness of our leaders. It is also an essential piece of knowledge for every Jew. We strive to connect with Hashem in any way that we can. By emulating His ways and perfecting our character we will be able to perceive His attributes and connect in a way we never thought possible.

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