Daf Yomi Kesubos 12
When the Children of Israel left Egypt, they were instructed to request gold and silver from their neighbours. The Midrash tells us that the poorest Israelite left Egypt with ninety donkeys laden with gold, silver, and precious jewellery! But why did they need these adornments? They were setting off on a forty year sojourn into the desert. Why would they need money?
Imagine the slave mentality the Children of Israel had developed after two centuries of bondage. They were born slaves, their parents and grandparents were slaves. All they knew was life as a slave.
And then they leave Egypt and each morning, mommy would call over her little ones, place a gold necklace upon them, and tell them, ‘You are a princess. You are a prince.’ Suddenly, their whole self-image was transformed. They would not grow up thinking of themselves as slaves; they were princes and princesses, children of the King of kings!
The Mishnah states: A maiden receives a kesubah payment (in the case of divorce or death of the husband) of two hundred zuz. The beth din (court) of the priests would impose a kesubah payment of four hundred zuz.
Rabbi Judah quoted Shmuel: They did not say this matter only with regards to priestly courts, rather even prominent Israelite families who wanted to act as the cohanim (priests) may do so.
Priestly families empower their children with a sense of pride and self-respect. From a young age, they instill within them the confidence of knowing that they are special. G-d has chosen them for His service. And so they imbue every detail of their lives with this feeling of uniqueness. If common folk provide their daughters with a kesubah valued at two hundred, then their priestly children deserve four hundred.
Shmuel teaches that while priests have a natural tendency to boost their children’s self-confidence, you too can create that special feeling within your Israelite family. You don’t need to be born of a priestly family to be a priest. If you act like a priest, you become a priest.
And you are a priest! You are a child of the Almighty, Who declared, “And you shall be unto Me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation.” We are no longer slaves to Pharaoh; G-d calls us His firstborn children. You are a princess! You are a prince!
When you go through life taking pride in the knowledge that you are royal, your entire perspective on life changes. You have incredible potential. You can accomplish amazing things in life. Don’t ever settle for second best. You can achieve all your dreams. Don’t ever give up on becoming your best!