The Baal Haturim explains that if one were to read the word (Vayikra) without the alef (the first work in thisd weeks parsha whos last letter is written small) it would say "vayekar - and He happened upon". This would imply that Hashem appeared to Moshe out of chance, without any particular love or affinity for him, as if he had merely stumbled upon Moshe in the mishkan. The Torah uses that same term when Hashem appears to Bilam, (Numbers 23:16). To distinguish Moshe from Bilam, Hashem wanted to use the more endearing word "vayikra" to describe His calling to Moshe, for it suggests a greater love and purpose, consistent with the high regard in which Hashem held him. However Moshe, in his monumental humility, was uncomfortable copying the word "vayikra" as Hashem had dictated it, and he wanted to leave off the laudatory alef. Such an insult to Moshes' dignity Hashem could not bear. Therefore, as a compromise Moshe wrote the letter small to decrease the honor which he would receive, while at the same time complying with Hashem's requirement.

It is interesting to note that Moshes' great humility is recorded as an introduction to the section of the Torah discussing the various korbanos brought in the mishkan. Perhaps Hashem wanted to save the prospective donor of an offering from falling prey to one of the worst attributes possible - arrogance. Put yourself in the shoes of the pious

Jew as he ascends to the Beis Hamikdash with his magnificent bullock. The animal is quite valuable and represents a true sacrifice on the part of the giver. Thoughts of honor and haughtiness may be whizzing through his mind as he is about to prove his dedication to Hashem by parting with his valuable commodity. "Look at how great I am," he gloats, "I am willing to give up so much, just for the sake of Hashem."

Nothing, however, could be more inconsistent with the intended purpose of korbanos. The offerings were meant to bring forth thoughts of humility and modesty as the giver imagines himself bound to the altar in the animal's place. To remind us to remain humble, even upon making such a tremendous sacrifice, the Hebrew letter alef is written small, as the Torah exclaims that one of the greatest accolades to be bestowed upon Moshe was that he was humble.

This same lesson applies to us today. While we do not have the privilege of bringing korbanos,we do perform many mitzvot and acts of kindness with great dedication. The temptation to seek honor and glory for our good deeds remains a true test to each and every one of us. However, with hard work and introspection, we have the power within ourselves to overcome this obstacle and purify our intentions.

Good Shabbos!

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