Chodesh Cheshvan: A message from Rav Yosef Hirschel

Real Greatness

We tend to consider the physical world the “real” world. When we talk about Yad Hashem for instance we think that the real hand is our hand and Hashem’s Hand is the metaphor. In fact the opposite is true.

As Rabbi Akiva Tatz explains the real “hand” is Hashem’s; our hand is a metaphor for Hashem’s spiritual Hand. So it is with every physical attribute of Hashem. The true reality is the spiritual reality. The physical is there to help the spiritual concept.

Rav Tzadok explains that the inner essence of a concept can be understood by examining the first time it’s mentioned in the Torah. The first mention of the root of gadol is regarding the creation of the sun and the moon which are called the “meoros” The sun is the “Meor Hagadol” while the moon is the “Meor Hagadol”

The word gadol is compared to the sun/light and radiating light to others. When a person works on himself to become a person of light and to radiate his light to others he is on the path to gadlus. The word Katan is compared to the moon and the reflection of the light of the sun. At a bris when we say “Zeh hakatan gadol yihiyeh ” we are not just blessing the infant that he grow into an adult; we are also giving a brachah that he become a luminary. He should be a person that gives of his light to others and not just be a reflection of others greatness.

When Moshe Rabbeinu came of age the Torah describes him with the words “Vayigdal Moshe — Moshe became big.” How did Moshe’s greatness manifest itself? The pasuk continues “Vayeitzei el echav — He went out to his brothers.” He actively sought out ways to assist his brothers and ease their burden. He was able to see outside of his "Ani".

It is no wonder that our great Torah leaders are referred to as gedolim. Like the sun they’re people who radiate light and warmth and illuminate the lives of others.

We all have an innate yearning for greatness. How can we become great? By consciously working to include others in our circle of “Ani”, to help others and increasing our acts of chesed.