Pekudey – A Great Midrash

Perashat Pekudey

A Great Midrash

When Benay Yisrael wondered through the desert they were surrounded by many clouds which protected them from the dangerous desert. The Midrash tells us that the cloud which was in front of them would level the path for them. The valleys were raised and the mountains flattened. As it says in the Pasuk:

Every valley will be lifted up and every mountain and hill will be flattenedand the rugged will be smoothened and the rough places made plain.

The cloud also killed all of the snakes and scorpions which were in the way. It also swept and polished the path for them.

The statements of our rabbis of blessed memory have hidden meanings. I believe that the message behind this refers to a very important attribute. This attribute is called humility. As Benay Yisrael wondered through the desert they met many different people who had all heard of the miracles that happened to Benay Yisrael. The people who lacked humility, who were filled with arrogance believed that they could beat the Jews and their G-d. This despite the fact that nobody was successful at stopping Benay Yisrael. They believed such a thing only because they were blinded by their arrogance. These people were flattened by the cloud.

Those people who were humbled when faced with the ethical-monotheism of the Jews and realized that such a way of life was the best were raised up and assisted the Jews. This refers to the valleys which were raised.

It is a well known fact that arrogance blinds a person and ultimately leads to his downfall, as it says in the Pasuk:

Before destruction comes greatness and before falling is a high spirit.

In English we would say, “The bigger they are the harder they fall.”

I constantly have my eyes open to see examples of people who have become totally blind to the cause and solutions to their problems. Two days do not pass when I hear something on the news or of an acquaintance who have been blinded by the fact that they must be right. The acquaintances inevatbly go broke and figures on the news inevitably cause war and massive loss of life. Arrogance is a part of the Yetzer Harah and does not differentiate between rich, poor, powerful or weak. All fail to see the cause of their problem.

The Pasuk quoted above “Every valley will be lifted up etc.” is followed by one which says that:

The honor of G-d will be uncovered and all creatures will together see since the mouth of G-d has spoken.

Only after arrogance ceases can we start to see the honor of G-d and hear what he says. Although G-d speaks and shows us his magnificence daily we do not sense it because we are all wrapped up in ourselves and the rat race around us. This is similar to a strong radio transmission with no radios to receive the transmission. We need to open our minds’ radios to learn what G-d has transmitted to us in the Torah.

The greatest proof of this is Moshe Rabeinu who was the humblest man ever to have lived. Humility allowed him to be in tune with everything around him. The Torah also comments that Moshe was the greatest prophet ever to have existed. Certainly there is a connection between these two ideas.