The Small Alef Teaches Humility

Parsha Points- Vayikra 5772


The Small Alef Teaches Humility


There are many different interpretations of why the Alef in the word Vayikra is written smaller than all of the other letters. The interpretation that we will focus on is the one from Rabbi Bunim of Peshischa.


Rabbi Bunim teaches that even though Moshe was on the highest level possible, he still carried himself in a very humble manner. Just as someone who stands on top of a mountain knows that he is only tall because the mountain is making him tall, so too Moshe knew that all of his greatness was a gift from God.


Rabbi Shimshon of Austropolly says that when Moshe wrote the word Vayikra (and He called), he wrote the Alef smaller because he was referring to himself. However, when he blessed B’nai Yisrael right before his death, he wrote the pasuk referring to the Jewish nation using all large letters: (Devarim 33:29) “Ashrecha Yisrael Mi Kamocha…”, “Fortunate are you O Israel: Who is like you! O people saved by the Lord, the Shield of your help, Who is the Sword of your excellency! Your enemies will try to deceive you but you shall trample upon their bamot.”


The last few words, “but you will trample their bamot” can refer to high places or haughty leaders. B’nai Yisrael will inherit the Land of Israel and neither the mountains nor the haughty leaders will stand in their way.


As humble as Moshe personally was, he understood that the Jewish people must take pride in themselves as a nation and with God behind them they will overcome their enemies and inherit the Land of Israel.