Kindness Hacks from Bamidbar
The name of this Sefer – ‘Bamidbar - In the desert’ – describes Hashem’s chosen setting for giving over the laws of the Torah to the Jewish people. A seemingly strange choice!
Usually when a leader wishes to make an announcement to his people, he does so from an impressive, or grand setting.
Why choose a barren and desolate desert?
One of the reasons for this choice was to impress upon the nation the importance of humility. Someone with the trait of arrogance will be held back from reaching his full potential in acquiring Torah, and becoming a fully developed human being.
If ones life is filled with only himself and his ego, no space will be left for other people. This includes being able to help those around him, but also from learning and gaining from the those that he comes into contact with. The arrogant person will not want to risk lowering his status by listening to the opinions of those ‘lower’ then him, and perhaps even avoid mixing with certain people altogether! With this attitude a person will be unable to acquire true wisdom.
A humble person however, is able to take a step back and to create space for other people in his life. He is able to both help them, and to find something to learn from each individual, no matter what their status or relationship to him. In his humility the focus is not on himself and fuelling his own ego, but on how he can gain and share wisdom, whilst simultaneously making a difference to those around him.
Ben Zoma says: Who is wise? He who learns from every person…(Pirkei Avot 4:1). Receiving the laws of the Torah in the desert, in the midst of a plain and empty, sand filled backdrop, was a powerful, visual reminder to us.
A reminder that it is impossible to acquire wisdom, help others, and let the Divine spark shine within us, unless we step back from our own ego, and make a space for others and G-d in our lives.
Lilui nishmas Tzvi ben Shimon Halevi
Yalkut Psalms 859