Emor: Becoming Great
“The Cohen who is greatest among his brethren” (Vayikra 21:10). Why is he called a Cohen Gadol, a great Cohen? For he is greater than the others in five ways: in beauty, strength, wealth, wisdom and years. […] And where do we derive that he was greater in wealth? For if he were not wealthy, his brothers would make him wealthy. If he does not have anything, his brothers make him great. This also applies to a king. When David went to fight Goliath, Saul dressed David in his own battle garments. And it is written regarding Saul, “from his shoulders up, he was taller than any of the people”. After he had dressed David up in his garments and he saw that they suited him, he cast an envious eye toward him. […] From this you learn that even if a person is short and he is appointed king, he will become tall. (Midrash Tanchuma, Emor #4)
We think of all the qualifications demanded of a High Priest or a king as necessary prerequisites. Yet, this Midrash teaches us that if a Priest who is appointed High Priest is poor, he will be given riches and will become wealthy; if a man is anointed to become a king and is short, he will grow taller.
How often do we bail out of situations because we feel inadequate. We shy away from taking on a role because we fear that we do not meet all the criteria for that role.
What we must realize is that it is when we step up to the plate, that God gives us the tools to carry out the mission. If we just wait around for all the things we think must be checked off our list, if we wait to be rich, and famous, and wise, and knowledgeable before taking responsibility to achieve all the great things that we dream of achieving, our lives can pass us by, and we will still be waiting.
David didn’t look in the mirror and wonder when he would grow a few more inches and be tall enough to become king. He followed his hopes, lived his dreams, assumed a role, took on a challenge, and grew into the clothes of the king.
Clothes of greatness await us too; it is up to us to put them on and trust that, with God’s help, we will grow into them.