Wednesday, January 30, 2013

The source of Moshe's greatness


"Gd told Moshe... I only gave you your greatness in the merit of the Jewish people."

(Talmud, Berachot 32a)

Have a great day,


  1. דרבי חייה בר אבא אתא לגבי ר' לעזר אמר ליה פייס לרבי יודן נשייא דיכתוב לי חדא איגרא דאיקר דאיפוק לפרנסתי לארעא ברייתא ופייסיה וכתב ליה הרי ששלחנו לכם אדם גדול שלוחינו וכיוצא בנו עד שיגיע אצלינו. רבי חזקיה רבי דוסתי רבי אבא בר זמינא ומטו בה בשם רבי דוסתי סבא אכן כתב ליה הרי שלחנו לכם אדם גדול שאינו בוש לומר לא שמעתיו.
    - Y-mi Nedarim 10:8 (vilna 35b)

  2. I left that quote oblique... DOesn't that story in the Y-mi apply that the man who was anav mikol adam would "naturally" be greater than all other people?

    OTOH, the Ohr haChaim explains why Moshe did not have the full panim-el-Panim prophetic ability of the rest of his life for the 38 years after the eigel. He says it's because the souls of Benei Yisrael intertwined with Moshe Rabbeinu's. And thus after they were reduced by cheit ha'eigel, Moshe was also diminished.

  3. R' Micha-
    I'm sorry, but I don't see - how do you draw that from the Yerushalmi?

  4. The Yerushalmi simply defines greatness in terms of willingness to admit "I don't know". Greatness is DEFINED as the person who puts Truth ahead of ego.

  5. Is greatness defined as requiring this trait? Or is that a trait associated with greatness?

  6. I took the two versions of the letter to be identical in meaning. One opinion thought he wrote "I sent you a great man". The other opinion didn't add a diagnostic tool to help them see how great he was, but spelled out what greatness is.