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The Name of the Parsha
Behar means “on the mountain,” as in the verse, “G-d spoke to Moshe on Mount Sinai.” The Midrash states that G-d chose to give the Torah on Mount Sinai since it is the “smallest of mountains,” suggesting humility (Midrash Tehilim 68:9).
 
However, this begs the question: If G-d wished to give the Torah in a place that is indicative of humility, surely a valley would have been more appropriate? Admittedly, Sinai is the “smallest of mountains,” but ultimately, it is still a mountain, which is hardly suggestive of lowliness and humility!
 
Furthermore, our Parsha has become known by the name “on the mountain” without even the clarification that it is Mount Sinai, the smallest of mountains. Surely the name “on the mountain” alone has lost any connotation of humility at all?
 
The need for humility in the service of G-d varies according to one’s level of knowledge and spiritual growth. Generally speaking, a person might fall under one of three categories:
 
a.)    Beginner. A beginner in the study and practice of Judaism has not yet trained his mindset and personality to be in harmony with the values of Judaism. Thus, at this stage, any traces of ego would prove totally counterproductive to his spiritual growth, for his ego would serve to strengthen his unrefined personality.
 
b.)    Intermediate. Here the person has considerably refined his personality to adhere to Jewish values, and has acquired much knowledge. Therefore, while humility will still be the dominant feature of his personality, it may prove necessary on occasion for this person to use his ego, to protect the interests of Judaism in general, and himself as an observant Jew in particular. Nevertheless, his ego should be carefully tempered with humility to prevent it from leading to arrogance or selfishness.
 
c.)    Advanced. If a person has totally transformed his mind and body to want only the values of Judaism, then his ego no longer poses a threat to his relationship with G-d. By exercising his ego, he will only reinforce and strengthen a personality which is totally dedicated to the Torah.
 
And this is why our Parsha is called Behar (“on the mountain”), without the clarification that it is Sinai (a small mountain). The Torah is teaching us that every Jew is capable of becoming a spiritual giant, whose personality is so holy that it does not need to be “restrained” with humility.
 
(Based on Likutei Sichol, vol.l, p.276ff.;vol22, p.159ff).
 

 


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