Commentary on Parashat Beshalach, Exodus 13:17 - 17:16
What gives us our sense of value? Is it our own accomplishments or others recognizing that we’ve achieved success? Is it possible to be humble and self-confident at the same time?
We can learn an important message from Moses. In this week’s portion, his authority was challenged by disgruntled members of the Jewish nation. Moses was well aware of his special relationship with God and the responsibility he carried as leader of the nation. Nonetheless, he truly did not view those achievements as reason for arrogance. Moses was a confident leader but a humble man, recognizing that everything he has is a gift and not an entitlement.
We all need to find this balance. We have innate talents and successes we’ve attained through hard work, but we can still be humble, but not with false or crippling humility that does not allow us to acknowledge our strengths. Humility is living with the understanding that we are simply doing our part by making a unique contribution to the world using the tools and strengths that God has given us. We all have those unique capabilities, so let’s respect ourselves and each other while remaining humble.
TALK TO YOUR KIDS about how to take their own abilities seriously while not insisting that others also take them seriously.
CONNECT TO THEIR LIVES:
· What are you are good at, either naturally or through hard work?
· If you’re confident about your strengths, does it matter if others don’t know?
· Can you laugh at yourself?
· Can making yourself small help you feel big inside?
From “Values and Ethics: Torah Topics for Today,” available from Behrman House Publishers.
Pronunced: TORE-uh, Origin: Hebrew, the Five Books of Moses.