By Rav David Silverberg

The Gemara in Masekhet Megilla (31a) comments, “Wherever you find the power of the Almighty, there you find His humility.”  As the Gemara proceeds to demonstrate, there are three contexts in Tanakh in which God’s unparalleled might is extolled and then His kindness and compassion are noted.  One of the three examples cited by the Gemara is a pair of verses in Parashat Eikev (10:17), in which Moshe tells Benei Yisrael, “For the Lord your God is the God of gods…the great, mighty and awesome God…who brings justice to the orphan and widow.”  As the Torah extols God unlimited might and power, it likewise extols His “humility,” how He concerns Himself with the plight of the underprivileged and the oppressed.  (This Talmudic passage is included in the text of “Va-yitein Lekha” which many people are accustomed to reciting on Motza’ei Shabbat.)

            It would seem that Chazal here seek to convey the message that talents are to be used for the benefit of others, and not for one’s own self-aggrandizing interests.  God uses His might and power to come to the aid of the orphans and widows, to care for the needy and protect the vulnerable.  Rather than “enjoy” His stature of greatness and simply asking that we give Him praise and honor, God channels His greatness towards meeting the vital needs of even the lowliest and most downtrodden people.  The message for us is to view all our skills and achievements as tools for helping others rather than merely as sources of pride and gratification.  Just as God uses His might to “bring justice to the orphan and widow,” to lend desperately-needed assistance to the underprivileged, we, too, must use all our “power” – our skills, talents, energy and resources – not to advance our own personal interests, but to help others and have as significant a positive impact upon the world as we can.

Originally posted on VBM

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