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The Medrash in Parshas Kedoshim brings down the story in Parshas Lech Lecha when Avrom went to save his nephew Lot from the four mighty kings after he was captured in Sedom. Avrom and his servant Eliezer waged war against the kings to save his nephew and is miraculously victorious with tremendous nissim. When he returns home, Malki-Tzedek, a.k.a. Shem, in his excitement and joy upon hearing of Avrom’s victory blesses Avrom and says Baruch Avrom Likail Elyon…and in the next Pasuk he Blesses Hashem saying Baruch Kail Elyon… Malki-Tzedek is taken to task in the Medrash for blessing Avrom before Hashem and not being concerned enough with Kivod Shomayim, the honor of heaven, and loses the Kehuna for his descendants.
The Eitz Yosef asks how could it be that Malki-Tzedek who was such a tzadik should lose the Kehuna for an honest mistake?
He was merely enthralled by Avrom’s victory, overcome with excitement and burst out with a bracha, it was an oversight! The Eitz Yosef explains that the mistake of not blessing Hashem first even though it was an oversight, proves that there was something lacking in Malki-Tzedek’s personality, not just that he made a one time mistake. Hashem felt that Malki-Tzedek’s persona was not befitting priesthood so it needed to be taken away.
The answer of the Eitz Yosef sounds difficult. Why is forgetting one time because he was moved by Avrom’s act of generosity and sacrifice for his nephew and miraculous victory proof of an inherent flaw? Can’t anyone be taken by an impressive act of righteousness and slip –up and make a momentary error without it being a character assassination?
It seems that the Medrash is teaching us that just like a mother always hears her baby crying, even when no one else does, so to our love and concern for the honor of Hashem should be so much a part of our subconscious that even when we are engrossed in any task we still naturally should have our antennas up for making sure the honor of Hashem is protected. There is no such thing as being too distracted or moved to miss the dishonor of Hashem. If Malki-Tzedek momentarily forgot about the honor of Hashem, it means that there was something lacking with Malki-Tzedek’s appreciation of Kavod Shomayim. Of course, he was held to an incredibly high standard and failed on an infinitesimal level, nevertheless, the lesson is there to teach us what we need to strive for.
From the Eitz Yosef’s choice of words it seems that this sensitivity for the honor of Hashem is not merely a religious obligation but rather stems from a natural desire that we should want to protect Hashem’s honor. Hashem is our loving father and king who created the world just to have the ability to do goodness and who is the source of all of our blessings and all that he does towards us is for our ultimate pleasure.
As Hashem’s children, we see how important it is for us to act with honesty and integrity as well as honorably in all that we do to bring kavod shomayim, Heavenly honor, and no matter how engrossed we are it is within us to always care and sense the needs of the honor of Hashem.
May we be blessed with the geula shelaima, the ultimate kavod shomayim, Bimhaira Biyomainu.