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Kenneth Cohen

Honor Comes in the End

There is an expression in Judaism, סוף הכבוד לבוא, that the honor will come in the end. We are meant to shy away from seeking honor, and remain humble. But eventually, the good deeds of a person become known, and honor comes to him anyways.

There is an example of this idea from פרשת בהעלותך. We are told that Aharon was distraught because he was not given a role in the dedication of the Mishkan. Each of the tribes brought a special sacrifice for the first twelve days, that the Mishkan was in operation.

The Ramban writes that Hashem told Aharon that his portion was greater than theirs. Not only would he be given the privilege of lighting the Menorah daily in the Temple, but there would be great recognition in the future. His descendants, the Chashmonaim, would lead a rebellion that would allow the Temple to be rededicated. There would be an annual holiday called “Chanukah” that will acknowledge the heroic acts of the Kohanim in Modiin. The real honor will come later.

We are warned by our rabbis that the seeking of Kavod, is categorized as תאוה, “lust.” Any type of lust is negative; whether it is a lusting for money, food, or women. The desire for honor shows a weakness in an individual’s personality. It is always nice to be appreciated, but this need for honor, shows great insecurity, and a low self esteem.

As always, we would do well to listen to the teachings of our sages. They help us stay focused as to what our priorities ought to be. Seeking honor is not one of them. If we are deserving of honor, it will come in the end.

About the Author
Rabbi Cohen has been a Torah instructor at Machon Meir, Jerusalem, for over twenty years while also teaching a Talmud class in the Shtieblach of Old Katamon. Before coming to Israel, he was the founding rabbi of Young Israel of Century City, Los Angeles. He recently published a series of Hebrew language-learning apps, which are available at www.cafehebrew.com