Finding Your Potential


By Rabbi Moshe Meir Weiss

When the Torah makes mention of the two stellar brothers, Moshe and Aharon, sometimes it says Moshe first and sometimes it says Aharon first.  Rashi takes note of this and explains the inconsistency is coming to convey the lesson that Moshe and Aharon were of equal stature and therefore sometimes it mentions Moshe first and sometime Aharon first.  Rav Moshe Feinstein, zt”l, zy”a, in his Dorash Moshe, askes the obvious question.  The Torah testifies, “V’ha-ish Moshe anav meod mikol adom – And the man Moshe was the humblest of all men.”  The Torah also declares that there never was a prophet like Moshe Rabbeinu who was able to see Hashem “Panim el panim – Face to face.”  With all these superlatives, how can we possibly say that Aharon was equal to Moshe Rabbeinu?

Rav Moshe answers with the well-known rule that each person is judged by Hashem as to how they live up to their G-d given potential.  Since Aharon utilized to the fullest his innate kochos, powers, his life was considered by Hashem to be just as successful as Moshe Rabbeinu’s life was.  This is why we say in our Rosh HaShannah liturgy that Hashem judges each person, “Maiseh ish u’fikudoso – Every man’s deed according to his station in life.”

The awareness of this kind of barometer should influence how we think about ourselves.  If while in yeshiva, one was not comfortable with yeshivishe lomdus, but felt very at home with Chassidic thought, one shouldn’t feel that his lack of expertise in Rav Chaims on the Rambam makes him a second class citizen.  For that wasn’t his potential.  And when a wife has a husband who is not learning three sedorim a day, but is making an honest living and supporting tzedakos, she didn’t get short-changed.  As long as her husband is fulfilling his potential, then he is the equal to his kollel masmid counterpart, just as Aharon’s preoccupation with shalom was the equal of Moshe Rabbeinu’s 40 days and 40 nights of learning Torah in Heaven.

So too, a parent shouldn’t be discouraged if his son didn’t make the cut to enter his alma mater, for his son needs to cut the path of his own potential and not recut the path of his father.  This is why we say in birchas Krias Shema, “V’sein chelkeinoo b’Sorosecha – Give us our portion in Your Torah,” and this is the deeper understanding of the Talmudic adage, “Ein adam lomeid ela ma shelibo chofeitz – A person should only learn what his heart enjoys,” for therein lies the key to where his potential can be found.

May Hashem bless us that we realize where our potentials lie and in that merit may we be zocheh to long life, good health, and everything wonderful.

Please learn, give tzedaka, and daven l’iluy nishmas of Miriam Liba bas Aharon.

Start the cycle of Mishna Yomis with Rabbi Weiss by dialing 718.906.6471.  Or you can listen to his daily Shiur on Orchos Chaim l’HaRosh by dialing 718.906.6400, then going to selection 4 for Mussar, and then to selection 4.   Both are FREE services.

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