"He called to Moses." (Lev. 1:1)

The Aleph of the word for, "He called/vayikra, the first word in the Book of Leviticus, is written smaller than usual (i.e. Vayikra), alluding to Moses' humility even in the face of his own greatness and his selection by God for his exalted role in human history. In contrast, the Aleph in Adam's name (i.e. Adam) as the first word of the Book of Chronicles is written larger than usual, alluding to Adam's self-esteem as the acme of God's creation. Although it is both necessary and good to be aware of one's positive qualities, Adam allowed his self-esteem to degenerate into conceit, and this caused his downfall.

...true humility does not mean denigrating oneself but seeing the virtue in others.

Moses rectified Adam's mistake. He recognized his greatness but nevertheless remained humble. His humility was not self-delusional, but the result of simple reasoning. "I cannot take any credit for any of my gifts or accomplishments," he thought, "since they are all God-given. Indeed, were another person given my potentials, he would have accomplished more and climbed to greater heights than I have." He understood that true humility does not mean denigrating oneself but seeing the virtue in others.

We are all spiritual heirs of Adam and Moses. When we feel inadequate we must remember that we are Adams, with big Aleph's. When thoughts of "Who am I?" deter us from our task, we must recall that we are formed by G‑d's own hands and are fully capable of caring for His garden. At the same time, we must recall that we are like Moses and thereby ensure that our self-assurance does not develop into conceit.

Moreover, if we remember the small Aleph, we, too, will merit to be called by G‑d, and this revelation will provide us with the strength to answer G‑d's call, drawing ourselves and the world at large closer to Him. This is the true essence of the sacrifices, whose laws are introduced by the lesson of the small Aleph.

© 2001 Chabad of California/www.LAchumash.org