PARSHAT VAYIKRA: SELF ESTEEM AS DESTINY
By Sherrie B. Miller
“Vayikra el Moshe”
(Shmot 1:1) . Hashem called Moshe.
According to the Mesorah, the Aleph at the end of the word Vayikra is unusually
small in comparison to the rest of the letters in the Torah. This alteration is
meant to impart a lesson, as each letter or variation thereof is significant.
Reb Bunim MiPschischa explains the diminutive aleph: although Moshe reached the
highest spiritual level attainable by Man, he did not become haughty and develop
a superiority complex, but rather maintained a genuine unassuming nature and sense
of humility. The Rebbe continues, that just as a man standing on the peak of a high
mountain would not boast “his” great height, since it’s the mountain that is truly
high, so too Moshe understood that his prominence and status emanated from Hashem.
Moshe was the most modest of all men! How can it be that The Only Man that ever
spoke “face to face” with Hashem, could be at the same time the most modest? We
know what happens to people as they climb the corporate ladder, or achieve high-ranking
positions in politics. All too often, they are plagued with a distorted sense of
authority, power and control. They are now “movers and shakers,” engrossed in self-glorification.
In stark contra-distinction, what is so evident in Moshe’s character, is that despite
the natural pull of aggrandizement, with the remarkable modesty that he possessed,
he never denied his strengths; Moshe recognized his capabilities, while knowing
full well where they emanated from and that these were gifts of Hashem. His modesty
never impeded his drive and sense of obligation to propel the Jewish further in
achieving their goal.
One cannot underscore enough the link between healthy self-esteem and healthy and
In relationships, there is a strong correlation between self-esteem and the ability
to be assertive, to get our needs met in a respectful and straightforward way. Each
of these components re-enforces the other: the more vital my self-esteem, the more
assertive I tend to be in my communication, which in turn increases my self-esteem.
The negative side of this phenomenon is the cycle of avoidance and partner dominance,
which are consequences of low self-esteem. People who suffer from low self-esteem
(sense of competence and worthiness) tend to avoid conflict by suppressing anger
and thus feels that their partner is controlling and domineering.
According to Nathaniel Branden, self-esteem expert:
“How we feel about ourselves crucially affects virtually every aspect of our experience,
from the way we function at work, in love, in sex, to the way we operate as parents,
to how high in life we are likely to rise. Our responses to dramas of our lives
are the reflections of our most private visions of ourselves. Thus, self-esteem
is the key to success of failure. It is also the key to understanding ourselves
and others.” The good news is that if one is aware of a difficulty in these areas
related to personality: assertiveness, self-esteem (confidence), avoidance, or partner
dominance, the skills can be learned!
The sincere desire for growth in these areas will help you find the right person,
by “being” the right person.
Sherrie Miller M.A.
Sherrie is the SawYouAtSinai ‘Article of the Week’ writer as well as a dedicated
SYAS matchmaker. Trained as an educational guidance counselor, group leader, pre-marital
coach, matchmaker and Judaic Studies teacher, Sherrie is dedicated to promoting
and enhancing emotional intelligence and communication skills in conjunction with
Sherrie received her educational counseling degree from the Michlalah in Bayit Vegan
and an M.A. in Education and Counseling from Touro College, Jerusalem, Israel. Sherrie
also holds a B.A. in Speech Pathology and Audiology from Brooklyn College and a
B.Sc. from Yeshiva University in Jewish Education. Sherrie is certified by Midreshet
Emunah and is accredited by the Rabbanut of Israel, to be a pre-marital couple’s
counselor and Kallah teacher.
Choices of the Heart, a preparation and enrichment program for nearly-wed and newly
wed couples, run by Sherrie Miller, focuses on teaching communication skills between
couples, using Jewish wisdom and Torah sources. The workshops offer tools to build
skills and realistic goals that empower young couples with on their way to establish
a Jewish home.
Having counseled singles and made a number of successful matches resulting in marriage,
Sherrie volunteers as a matchmaker for SawYouAtSinai.
Sherrie has a private practice in Jerusalem and can be contacted via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or via phone at
both 718-874-0677 (USA) and 054-475-5153 (Israel)
This Jewish Dating Column is brought to you by SawYouAtSinai, the Jewish Matchmaking
service. Articles are often written by Jewish matchmakers, to help Jewish singles