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Humility and Receiving the Torah


Emor (Leviticus 21-24 )

by Rabbi Ron Jawary

One of the mitzvot in this week's Torah portion is the counting of the Omer, when we count 49 days from Passover to Shavuot, the day on which the Torah was given (Leviticus,23:15).

The Vilna Gaon (18th century) writes that if a person has a good heart, the Torah will make him a better person. However, if his character is flawed, religion could have the opposite effect and make him worse. He will be able to use religion to justify anything he wants. In fact, Shavuot is known as the day on which we were given the Torah -- not the day on which we received it. Receiving the Torah depends upon our striving to refine our character.

In order to be able to truly relate to God, a person needs to be ethical and moral. One of the main character traits a person needs to be sensitive to before Shavuot is humility. To the extent that we let our ego get in the way, God isn't able to penetrate our essence and we won't be able to hear what the Almighty wants.

It is no coincidence that Moses, who was the most humble person to have ever lived, had the deepest relationship with the Divine. The more we realize how much of our life is just an undeserved gift, how lucky we really are to have so much in life, the more we will merit to see the Divine in every aspect of our lives. Each day can become a day of receiving the Torah, regardless of whether or not we are standing at Mount Sinai.

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