One of my teachers, Rabbi Yitzchak Schwartz, shared the following with me:
"Kabbalah teaches a version of the Relativity Factor. The idea is that the perspective of a person is dependent upon whether he is looking up or looking down.
When people are looking beyond themselves to something that is more or greater than they are right now, they feel themselves to be small, and that what waits for them is very big.
Whereas, if they are looking at something that is smaller than they are, then they feel themselves to be very big."
We always have a choice, an opportunity to ourselves and to see others in perspective. The only way I know how to do that is to ask God for help. I ask God to show me other people, situations and myself the way he sees me.
And Rebbetzin Chana Bracha Siegelbaum, always my weekly inspiration with her Women At The Crossroads: A Woman's Perspective on the Weekly Torah Portion, adds to my personal lessons this Shabbos Bamidbar, when she writes:
"Thus, we affirm our belief that rather than competing for importance and power, the energy we receive from the Divine source must be circulated equally among us."
She is talking about the arrangement of the tribes around the Mishkan, as well as the social hierarchies we find ourselves immersed in today. Keeping in mind that we are here with the continual challenge to see things the way they really are, meaning the way God sees them, we can stand back and pray for an attitude adjustment to our perspective when necessary.
I must say, that opportunity presents itself to me MANY times every day!
Finally, Rabbi Yisroel Jungreis sent the following to me in an email this week:
"Midbar can be defined as wilderness or desert; the word bamidbar means “in the Wilderness”, teaching us that if we wish the Torah to impact on us and elevate us, we have to make ourselves like a desert. Even as a desert is barren, so too must we divest ourselves of all pre-conceived notions and allow the Torah to re-shape us. Even as in a desert there are no diversions, so we cannot allow anyone or anything to distract us from our Torah study."