“And Yisro… heard that which HASHEM
did for Moshe and Yisrael”
With these words, the Torah explains
what motivated Yisro to join the Jewish people. He heard all
of the great miracles that HASHEM did: the ten Makkos,
the splitting of the sea… all done for Moshe and Yisrael.
Rashi makes an observation on this posuk.
The Torah seems to equate Moshe to the entire Jewish people,
with the words “that which HASHEM did for Moshe and
Yisrael.” This implies that all of the stupendous events
of Yitzias Mitzraim had been brought for these two
equals: Moshe and the entire Jewish nation.
Rashi explains that not only is this
correct, it is what the Torah is teaching us. Moshe really
was the equivalent to the entire nation. The Torah said
“that which HASHEM did for Moshe and Yisrael” to
teach us this very point.
How can one human being
equal a nation?
The problem with this Rashi is that it
doesn’t seem possible that one human being could be the
equal to an entire nation. At this time, the Jewish people
consisted of approximately three million men, women, and
children, including many Zakainim, and many very
righteous individuals. As great as Moshe may have been, how
is it possible that one person could be the equivalent to so
The answer to this question lies in
understanding the difference between physical
and spiritual growth.
On a physical plane, the human is
capable of extraordinary accomplishments. An Olympic athlete
can take a bar weighing over 500 pounds and in one smooth
movement lift it over his head – an act that seems beyond
human capacity. Yet this athlete didn’t start out lifting
stupendous amounts. He began just like anyone else, and
through a program of progressive weight training, he changed
his physicality. By systematically challenging his body, he
developed strength that is astonishing.
But that growth is limited. As strong as
he may be, he is still made of flesh and blood. He can’t
bench press a freight train, or pick up a house. And, if he
was hit by a truck, he would end up much like you and I
would. While he may have changed his muscularity and body
mass index, his growth remains within the bounds of
Spiritual growth, on the other hand, is
far more expansive and almost limitless. To better
understand this, it may be helpful to focus on understanding
who we are.
The “I” that tells my fingers to move,
my tongue to speak, and my legs to walk is a spiritual
entity. I was once sitting under HASHEM’s throne up in
Shamayim and have now been temporarily put into this
heavy cloak of physicality. In the near future, I will once
again separate from this body, and in whatever state of
perfection that I have reached, will live on forever.
HASHEM custom-designed this world, and
our current existence, specifically so that we can grow. We
were given all the challenges and tools needed to shape
ourselves into powerful spiritual entities that can tower
over the greatest celestial beings.
The difficulty that we have in
understanding our potential is because we think in physical
terms and try to apply them to the spiritual realm. However,
spirituality has a very different set of rules.
If we were to borrow a physical
moshol, it would work something like this.
If physical growth were
Imagine that HASHEM created a world
solely so that man could become as physically big and as
strong as possible. In this world, rather than his growth
being slow and incremental, it happens almost instantly and
So our prototype man shows up to the gym
on day one weighing 150 lbs., puts 100 lbs. on the bar, and
starts lifting. Because the work that he puts in brings
about results, he grows. The next day, he shows up to the
gym weighing 200 lbs. of solid muscle. He now puts 300 lbs
on the bar and starts lifting – easy as pie. And this work
also brings about results, so the next day he walks into the
gym weighing 250 lbs. and can easily lift 400 lbs.
The startling part is that the growth is
exponential. Because each day he is bigger and stronger than
the day before, he can now do more work, which itself
challenges his body to a greater extent, and thereby causes
increased growth. Because the increased growth builds on
growth, within a short time he will be a towering hulk, able
to accomplish physical feats that are beyond our
Moshe Rabbenu was unique
This seems to be the answer to Moshe
Rabbeinu. He was created with a unique nishamah,
and he used his potential fully. From his first moments of
understanding, he devoted himself to the service of HASHEM.
As a result, he grew. That growth was compounded
exponentially, level after level, until he became so huge
that he alone equaled an entire generation of people.
Something that is impossible in the physical world: but can
be realized in realm of the Nishamah.
The application to us
This concept is very relevant to our
lives. We were created with almost unlimited potential to
grow, to change our inner essence. And that growth is
something that we enjoy for eternity. When a person focuses
on his true potential, life itself takes on a whole
different dimension. Every moment is a precious opportunity
to reach levels and acquire riches that will last forever.
Sent by: Joy Haber
on Jan 3, 2012