Kabbalistic Concepts

To Be Great

In the sages’ discussion of the Torah portion of Chukat there is a notable quote: U-me-bah-mot Ha-ga-ye, which means “And from the high places to the (low) valley”. Karen Berg shares a very simple, yet potent, lesson found in Chukat, “A person who desires to be great, and works in his life to be respected and great, will eventually find himself to be a nobody.” And vice versa. We see this concept unfold in many stories and parables of the Bible itself, such as Korach, who desired Moses’ position and eventually was swallowed up by the ground. Or in the story of the mountains that fought over which of them should receive the Torah, which was eventually given to the lowest mountain, Mt. Sinai. There is a big kabbalistic secret that explains why this concept rings true: There is nothing wrong with the desire to be great…the problem is when we do our spiritual and physical work with the intention TO BE GREAT.

If you have a desire to be great, it means it is in your destiny one day to be great. However, your job is to LET THAT GO and do the spiritual work that you know you need to do NOW simply to connect your soul to the Creator. By letting go, you are allowing the Creator to take you to greatness. Rav Berg always shared that being a person of influence – a teacher, a mentor – is not something you take or grab or even aim for. But through tremendous hard work and sacrifice, you afford the Creator one day – on a specific date determined by Him – to give you this gift of greatness. As Karen says, don’t take it. Be patient.


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