Making Room for the “Aleph”

Moshe Kempinski

Prime Minister Netanyahu has been re-elected at the end of a rancorous and difficult election process. His re-election was not a simple process as Israel’s left leaning media, foreign involvement and meddling and a hate filled campaign attempted to evict Netanyahu from office. The victory came as a result of the voice of the “second Israel” coming to the fore with the addition of the votes of the traditional voters of the Religious Zionist community who broke ranks with their party to “rescue” the Prime Minister.

We are yet to see if Netanyahu truly understands and has learned anything from the critically humbling experience of this last election. He would do well to try to learn from Moshe (Moses), the first Jewish leader.

We ended the book of Exodus with the following words;

“And the cloud covered the Tent of Meeting, and the glory of Hashem filled the Mishkan.Moshe could not enter the Tent of Meeting because the cloud rested upon it and the glory of Hashem filled the Mishkan……For the cloud of Hashem was upon the Mishkan by day, and there was fire within it at night, before the eyes of the entire house of Israel in all their journeys. Exodus 40:34-38)

Yet When G-d called Moshe to enter the Sanctuary for the first time after its construction we read ;”And He called (VaYikra) to Moshe, and Hashem spoke to him from the Tent of Meeting, saying,”( Leviticus 1:1). The word Vayikra (And He called ) is written in such a way that the final letter “Aleph “ is shrunken in size. What then is that meant to teach us?

Our sages explain the small “Aleph” with a Midrash that points to Moshe’s trait of humility. It explains that as Moshe wrote down the Torah, he wanted to minimize his own importance. He shrunk the letter Aleph so as to minimize the fact that G-d called out to him purposefully.

By shrinking the letter “Aleph”, the word VaYikra seems to be read as VaYikar which is translated as “happened upon”. That is to say, that G-d’s calling out to him was random and that call could have just as easily gone out to any other worthy leader.

Beyond being an indicator of one of the important traits of Moshe.”And the man Moshe was extremely humble, more than any person on the face of the earth. “(Numbers 12:3), it was also meant to be a great lesson for all potential leaders of the people of Israel.

When Amalek attempts to destroy the people of Israel after their exodus from Egypt we hear the divine declaration

“And Hashem said unto Moshe: ‘Write this for a memorial in the book, and rehearse it in the ears of Joshua: for I will utterly blot out the remembrance of Amalek from under heaven. ‘And Moshe built an altar… And he said: ‘the hand upon the throne of Hashem: Hashem will have war with Amalek from generation to generation.’” (Exodus 17:14-16)

Moshe is saying that “: the hand (of Amalek is) upon the throne of Hashem” and the word for throne (Kiseh spelled Chaf Samech Aleph) is written without the Aleph and is pronounced here as Kes. The “Aleph” of G-d’s throne is missing.

Amalek’s mission of sowing confusion and doubt in the world is essentially an attempt to hide Hashem’s rulership in the world represented by the “Aleph”.

The Tzror Hamor written by Rabbi Avraham Sabba one of the persecuted and expelled Jews of Spain explains that “the call to Moshe came from the Aleph of the Divine name of EhYeh (I Will Be)”.He understood from his own bitter experience the eternal attempts of Amalek to blot out Hashem and His people .

When Moshe made his “Aleph” smaller it allowed for the “Aleph” of Hashem to be perceived in a much more tangible way. Amalek throughout the ages will continue to try to erase the Aleph of Hashem’s rule in the world. Moshe in the wildernes sand his descendants must strive with humility, awe and determination to ensure its constant revelation.

That will be the test of Netanyahu. If he begins to believe that it was his talents and wisdom that led to his success, without appreciating the Divine hand of destiny then he will find himself at odds with the voters again.

To the mortal eye, Netanyahu is not a visibly spiritual man but one can never know or judge what is developing in any individual soul.

We can only hope that this awareness will grow and develop

LeRefuat Yehudit bat Golda Yocheved

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