Up stairway can take you down

“Neither shall you go up by steps (ma’alot) to My altar, that your nakedness should not be exposed there.” (Exodus 20:23)

This is why in the Tabernacle and Temple, the Priests ascended the altar by walking up a ramp.

The Hebrew word for steps (ma’alot) can also be rendered as ‘virtues’. So, aside from the literal meaning of this verse, there is a hint to the idea that if someone thinks highly of himself and boasts of his virtues – they will cause their shortcomings to be exposed. (R’ Elimelech of Lizhensk)

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