Sivan 5765 – Channeling Your Strengths

8 Sivan 5765
Channeling Your Strengths
By Miriam Kahane

Chazal tell us that Hashem chose Har Sinai as the place on which the Torah would be given because Har Sinai was a small, humble mountain. The question arises: Har Sinai may have been a small mountain, which symbolizes humility, but it is still a mountain. Why not give the Torah on the ground or, better yet, in a valley? Surely a valley seems more “humble” than a mountain, even the smallest of mountains.

The answer is that although Har Sinai was small, it was a mountain nonetheless. Humility means realizing that you are small yet knowing that you are still a mountain. Humility should not be confused with lowliness. The ground is lowly. A valley is lowly. A mountain, no matter how small it may be, is still grand.

If the place on which the Torah was given was not sufficient enough to teach us that acknowledging your greatness is not a contradiction to humility, the person to whom the Torah was given certainly would. Moshe Rabeinu was “anav mikol adam”. We know that Moshe Rabeinu was well aware of who he was and understood his greatness. Yet his humility was not a contradiction to this knowledge because he understood that all of his greatness came from Hashem.

The Ibn Ezra asks why Moshe Rabeinu had to be raised in the house of Pharoh. It seems quite strange. He answers that Moshe was to be the future leader of klal Yisroel which takes strength, courage and self confidence. To ensure that Moshe would acquire these traits, Hashem had him grow up in the palace of the king as a prince. This would give him the confidence and strength that he would need to become the leader of the Jewish people.

In Parshas Bamidbar the Torah tells us that each shevet had a degel. Why? What was the significance of the degalim? Each degel portrayed a symbol of that particular shevet’s koach. The degalim reminded each shevet to utilize their kochos properly and to channel them towards avodas Hashem. If the shevatim needed a reminder to utilize their unique kochos, how much more so do we. And to ensure that they would not forget what their main koach was and what Hashem expected from them, they had flags. Each one of us must search inside ourselves until we understand what our personal flag is. And as we raise our eyes towards our flag, we will be reminded to channel our kochos towards heaven.

This is our challenge. To realize our greatness, yet to recognize that it is all a gift from our Creator. This is anava. Before Shavuos, take a piece of paper and a pen and find a quiet corner somewhere. Start making a list of your good qualities. Think hard- very hard. You have good qualities. Everyone does. Are you kind, patient, a good listener, loyal, empathetic, orderly…What midda tova comes naturally to you? What makes you special? What unique contribution can you make to the world? Hashem gave you gifts so that you can use them in this world. Study your list. Memorize your list. Tape it to your mirror. This is the single most important exercise you will ever do.

Last week a taxi driver had the radio on and the news reported the following story. A man went out into his garden with a suitcase containing three million shekel cash…and burned it! Was he crazy?! He must have been insane! No normal person would ever think of doing such a thing. He had so much and he just threw it all away. Hard to believe.

We are all walking around with treasures inside of us- a wealth of kochos just waiting to be discovered. Don’t make the same mistake that crazy man did. This Shavuos, renew your commitment to recognizing your gadlus by finding your strengths, realizing that they are a gift from Hashem and utilizing them properly. If we do this, we will be zocheh, as Moshe Rabeinu and Har Sinai were, to be the vessel through which the Torah can be received.