Acharei: How to Minimize Haughtiness

My apologies for last week.  Right after Pesach and Sukkos, we have a few days where the kids are back to school and I’m still off from kollel.  They are called the “Days Of Accomplishment.”  My wife and I rented a car for two days and did a lot of shopping and purchases that were put on the back burner and needed to get done.  We also had a lot of fun (car + wife – children = fun).  On the first day, we were running early from our tasks.  Since my daughter was picking up all the kids and bringing them home, we decided to take a detour and check out a certain nature park to see if it’s something to bring the children to in the summer (via one of the Arab buses).  In order to get there, you have to drive through a Druze village.  For those who are unfamiliar with the Druzim, they have excellent land, with beautiful views, and their two-way streets are the size of one-way lanes, without any street signs.  And of course, they have no problem driving their trucks through there at Warp Eight, coming only 5 microns from your car.  The next day, we made it a point to take a little vacation ourselves.  We left early, drove to Tzfas, hiked down the valley to a water stream, had breakfast, climbed back up, drove an elderly couple we saw into Tzfas, went to Meron to a natural food store, drove to another store, ordered a closet for the girls, and came home on time to pick up the kids.  The joy of living up north, is that you can do that.


Okay, on to Torah!


“And there shall be no man in the Tent of Meeting when He (the Kohen Gadol) goes in to make atonement in the Sacred Place” (Vayikra 16:17).


When the Kohen Gadol performed the Yom Kippur service, he, and he alone, was allowed to enter the Kadosh HaKedoshim (the Holy of Holies).  Being human, it’s possible that the Kohen Gadol might become haughty from his lofty status.  Therefore, writes the Degel Machane Ephraim, the Torah gives him a suggestion, “There shall be no man,” that is he should view himself as completely alone, as if there are no other human beings in the world.


This idea is not just for the Kohen Gadol, but also for each of us to counter any haughty feelings that we might have, whether on a daily basis or on occasion when we receive some honor.  Our haughty feelings come from the fact that we are viewing ourselves above everybody else, or at least above certain other people.  By picturing oneself as alone in the world when we receive such honors, we will be able to mentally lessen, if not remove completely, such attitudes from our system.


Have a wonderful Shabbos!


Michael Winner