Pekudei 5774 – Removing Choices

Moshe could not enter the Ohel Moed for the cloud rested upon it (Shemos 40:35)

I saw in the book Peninim on the Torah, that the reason Moshe could not enter the Ohel Moed was not because he was scared to enter. The reason he did not enter was because he was in awe of Hashem and he did not enter until Hashem called for him. It was because he respected and honored Hashem. The question is therefore asked, “why does it say he ‘could not’ enter? It should say he ‘did not’ enter, because in actuality he could have entered if he wanted to.” The answer given is that Moshe so ingrained in himself the respect for Hashem that he lost the ability to enter. He did not have a choice anymore.

This past week, I was working with my five-year-old son on reading. He has a 9 page book which has about 4 or 5 words on each page. It took him about 5 minutes to read it because he needed to sound out each word. To say “big”, he sounded out the “b” and then said “ig” and then put them together to say “big”. It took a few seconds. For us, though, we don’t even need to think. We see the word “big” and automatically know what it says. Why? Because we have been reading for many years and we can read small words easily. There is no work involved for us to read the word “big”.

The same is with our middos, character traits. If we work on them every single day, they will come naturally to us. Something that used to be a test for us will no longer be. If a person works on keeping calm, he will keep calm during times he used to become angry. It will not even be by choice… it will be natural. That is because when a person works on something, it comes to him automatically without thinking, just like reading is for all of us nowadays. We worked in grade school for hours and hours so we can now read without any difficulty. The same will be true if we work on our middos.

This is the lesson we can learn from the verse in this week’s parsha. Moshe perfected himself so much that he no longer had a choice if he would enter the Ohel Moed. It was so natural for him that he just could not enter it.

Good Shabbos!
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