Localized Humility – Parashat Mikeitz

December 23, 2019 at 4:03 AM , , ,

“….He placed food in the cities, the food of the field surrounding the city he put within it….” – Bereishit 41:48

״….ויתן אכל בערים אכל שדה העיר אשר סביבותיה נתן בתוכה…״ – בראשית מא, מח

Localized Humility
In Rashi’s commentary on this verse, he notes that some of the local soil was mixed in with the grain when placing it in storage, as a means of preserving the grain and preventing it from decay.

In a spiritual sense, Chassidus teaches a similar idea with regard to Torah study (see Shaarei Orah 91b). In our prayers, we say: ונפשי כעפר לכל תהי’ פתח לבי בתורתך; we preface our request that G-d open our hearts to be receptive of the Torah with the wish, “Let my soul be like soil before all.” This sequence tells us that humility, seeing ourselves like bland and lowly “soil” before others, is the key to ensuring that our hearts absorb and maintain the Torah we study.

Rashi emphasizes, however, that it is specifically local soil that protects the grain from spoiling. This teaches us that even humility has its place. When the Torah demands that one devote himself and his resources to teaching Torah to others – that is not the area where one should exercise meekness and modesty. Rather, the Torah is absorbed through a local humility, humbleness in our study of the Torah itself. The study of Torah must be prefaced and pervaded with an awareness of the Torah’s Divine nature, utterly beyond the grasp of human logic. Consequently, we must approach the Torah with the goal of infusing ourselves through its study with a greater awe of G-d than before, and not as a means for personal satisfaction and pride.

—Likkutei Sichos vol. 25, pp. 224-225


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