Shemos 5774 – How To Be Great

Now it took place when the midwives feared Hashem that He made houses for them (Shemos 1:21)

Rashi points out that the midwives were Yocheved and Miriam. The houses spoken about in the above verse are the houses of priesthood, Levi, and royalty. Yocheved married Amram, a leader of the Levi tribe, and they had Cohanim and Leviim come from them. Miriam married Caleb (the famous spy in Parshas Shelach who supported Moshe) from the tribe of Yehuda and kings came from them. A person might wonder: why do the best always get the best? Yocheved was a great woman and she married a great man. The same with Miriam. They both get great rewards for their offspring. What do great people do that make them so special?

A man once complained to a Rabbi that a yeshiva did something very unfair. There was a yeshiva which had a policy that they did not accept anyone who owned a TV set. There was a family which owned a TV but they wanted to send their child to this yeshiva anyway. Therefore, before the child went in for the interview they trained him to say that he did not have a TV. The interview came and the principal asked the boy, “What is your favorite TV show?” The boy answered and from the answer the principal immediately realized the family had a TV. He did not allow the boy into the yeshiva.

The father was very upset. He felt it was unfair how the yeshiva phrased their question. The Rabbi told him that he wanted to do a similar thing by having the boy lie – the yeshiva came up with a way to detect if a boy was lying. The Rabbi then asked the man why he wanted to send his boy to the yeshiva anyway. The man replied that the children at that yeshiva are top notch and come from great families. The Rabbi asked the father why he thought this was true. The man immediately responded that it must be because they do not have a TV.

A person can desire to be great, but if he isn’t going to do anything about it then he won’t be great. A person cannot be great and continue to do things the same way he always has done them. Miriam, Yocheved, and their families were great because they did not only desire to be great but they did something about it.

Good Shabbos!
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