|Degel Machane Ephraim-Purim|
|Written by Bentzion of Medziboz|
"This is the law of the metzorah on the day of his cleansing: he shall be brought to the priest. Then the priest shall command to take for the one who is to be cleansed two living clean birds, and cedar-wood, and scarlet tola'as, and hyssop." (Metzorah 14:2-4)
I heard a parable from my Master. A certain king sought a drug that would enable him to live forever. The "medicine" he was given was to distance himself from pride.1 However, the more humble he acted, the prouder he became - for he was such a great king, and so humble too! Finally, his teacher came and taught him how to act outwardly like royalty, but humbly within, for he showed him [that he needed to use] the toilet, like other men.
I also heard an explanation of the verse: "G·d is King, He is clothed in pride" (Psalms 93:1). But isn't pride a despicable character trait? Rather, for the sake of running the kingdom, He needs a garment of pride.
Tzafnah Paneach, p. 3c (R. Yaakov Yosef of Polonnye)
My grandfather [the Baal Shem Tov] raised a question. The verse says: "G·d is King, he is clothed in pride," yet it is written: "In every place you find the greatness of the Holy One, there you find His humility."2 Where is His humility alluded to here (in the verse from Psalms)?
The answer is that only the clothing is pride; in His inner essence, you find His humility.3
Degel Machane Ephraim, Purim (Rabbi Moshe Chaim Ephraim of Sudilkov)
1This is not merely a metaphor, for the humbler a person is before G·d, the more he becomes attached to the Divine and partakes of G·d's essence. He can attain an aspect of eternal life, which derives from G·d's own eternal nature. See Likutey Moharan I:21 for an expansion of this idea.
Translation and Commentary by Rabbi Dr. Eliezer Shore and reprinted with the kind permission of the Baal Shem Tov Foundation. Please visit www.baalshemtov.com
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