A tiny aleph
Teaches us to find meaning
In life’s chance events
The first word of our portion – the first word of the Book of Leviticus – is written with a small aleph as shown in the image accompanying this post. One explanation for this scribal oddity can be found in Artscroll’s Kestenbaum Edition Tikkun:
When God dictated the Torah to Moses, God told Moses to write “Vayikra el Moshe” (He called to Moses). But Moses, who was the most humble man who ever lived, preferred to write “Vayikar el Moshe” (He happened upon Moses). That way it would sound as if God had not summoned Moses out of God’s great love for him, but had merely met Moses by chance … When God saw that Moses had left of the aleph at the end of Vayikra, God commanded Moses to add the aleph. Moses obeyed God, but wrote that aleph smaller than usual.
This is a nice teaching about the humility of Moses. But what lesson can we find for our lives in a small, silent letter?
One idea comes from Rabbi Jonathan Kligler, who encourages us “to notice the small aleph through which Vayikar becomes Vayikra, and seemingly chance events become purposeful teachings in our lives so that we can always be growing in wisdom, joy and love.”
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