|The Profundities of Torah: Tetzaveh: The Key To Success|
|Written by HaRav Yochanan Zweig|
"You shall offer the one sheep in the morning, and the second sheep shall you offer in the afternoon" (29:39)
There is a Midrash which discusses the a priori axiom of the Torah. Rabbi Akiva states that the a priori axiom is "ve'ahavta lerayacha kamocha" - "love your friend as you do yourself".1 Ben Azai cites the verse "Zeh sefer toldos adam, beyom bero Elokim adam bidmus Elokim asah oso" - "This is the account of man's origin: On the day that Hashem created man, He made him in his likeness."2,3
A variant Midrash, recorded by the author of the Ein Yaakov, offers a third opinion. Rabbi Shimon ben Pazi states "Es hakeves ha'echad ta'aseh baboker, ve'es hakeves ha'sheini ta'aseh bein ha'arbayim" - "You shall offer one sheep in the morning and a second sheep shall you offer in the afternoon" as the a priori axiom.4 What is the issue being disputed by these three opinions?
There are three basic relationships which each individual is expected to perfect exist in this world. These relationships are "bein adam le'atzmo" - "man's relationship to himself", "bein adam lachaveiro" - "man's relationship to his fellow man", and "bein adam lamakom" - "man's relationship to Hashem". The three relationships are interdependent to the extent that if there is a deficiency within one of them, all three are lacking.
Fundamental to man's ability to accomplish and succeed in any endeavor in life is his degree of self-esteem. A person with low self-esteem is not motivated to accomplish. What should a person focus on so that he may develop a positive definition of himself? Rabbi Akiva maintains that by performing acts of kindness and exhibiting love toward his fellow man, a person will build up a positive perception of himself. By learning to love others, a person comes to love himself.
Ben Azai disagrees. He maintains that a person with a low self-image, who does not love himself, cannot love others. How then does a person come to appreciate himself? The Torah teaches that man is created in Hashem's image. The most heinous of transgressors, the blasphemer is required to be buried before nightfall of the day he is executed. Rashi explains that it is deprecating to Hashem, in whose image the blasphemer was created, for his corpse to remain exposed overnight. Even the corpse of this sinner retains the stamp of G-d's likeness. Therefore, the knowledge that man is a G-dly being is sufficient to give man a positive definition of himself, thereby enabling him to perfect his other relationships.
Rabbi Shimon ben Pazi does not find Ben Azai's solution satisfactory, for the knowledge that man is created in Hashem's image is only indicative of man's potential. The awareness of this potential cannot be the source of man's self-esteem. On the contrary, a person's self-esteem can be extremely damaged by the knowledge that he has tremendous potential, but he is not actually achieving to potential.
Therefore, Rabbi Shimon ben Pazi offers an alternative solution. Hashem requires man to serve Him by bringing offerings twice daily. This means that although Hashem is omnipotent, He has created a relationship with Bnei Yisroel by which we can offer Him something. We can cater to His "needs". The knowledge that a person is needed in a relationship is an enormous self-esteem builder.
The ultimate boost in self-esteem comes when a person recognizes that the One who needs him is Hashem. The understanding that we have a relationship with Hashem and He desires that we serve Him, gives man self-esteem and is also the vehicle through which man can actualize his potential. The system that Hashem has designed for us to follow is the path which we must take to ultimately be fulfilled.
For man to actualize his potential, he must first develop his self-esteem. According to Rabbi Akiva, this can be achieved by focusing upon his relationships with his fellow men. Ben Azai argues that man's relationship with himself is the key to a positive self-definition, while Rabbi Shimon ben Pazi maintains that man's awareness of his relationship with Hashem is the building block to success in all relationships.
Vayikra 19:18 2.Bereishis 5:1 3.Bereishis Rabbah 24:8