Torah.org Home Subscribe Services Support Us
  LifeLine
Print Version

Email this article to a friend

Shavuos

"And they traveled from Refidim and came to the Sinai desert, and they camped in the desert, Israel camped facing the mountain." [19:2]

The Ohr HaChaim, Rabbi Chaim ben Attar, asks why it was necessary to say that Israel came to the Sinai desert - the previous verse already said that. In addition, why must the verse tell us that they camped in the desert - is it not obvious that they would camp whenever they arrived at their destination?

The Ohr HaChaim offers a drasha, a deeper interpretation of the verse, saying that these words teach us three crucial acts of preparation for receiving the Torah.

"And they traveled from Refidim" - the place where Amalek met and fought with them, because, our Sages tell us, they suffered a "Rifyon Yadayim," a weakness. What sort of weakness? A weakness in Torah learning. One can only truly understand a difficult subject after making a total commitment. One cannot learn Torah in a lazy way, and gain more than a superficial understanding. To receive Torah, one must leave "Refidim," laziness, behind.

"And they camped in the desert" - they made themselves like a desert, which everyone steps on. Modesty and humility are also requirements, "for words of Torah only last in a person who lowers himself, and makes himself like a desert." A haughty and proud person will be too proud to ask, too proud to admit error. Torah is acquired by one who is willing "to learn from every individual," and displays this trait in every aspect of his life.

"Israel camped facing the mountain" - in the singular, meaning as a united body. The scholars sat down to learn together in an environment of unity and peace, rather than making divisions. And this was perhaps the most difficult of all. They put aside petty arguments and concentrated upon that which they all held dear.

I wonder when in our history the Jewish people has been divided as it is today. I doubt that this bears elaboration - everyone knows what I mean. Petty arguments are indeed the order of the day.

I'm delighted, on the other hand, that when it comes to traditional learning, we see plenty of exceptions. This is truly one of the highlights of our program - that we have 7000 participants from all over the world, representing practically every stream and school of thought, all learning something about Judaism and our united Jewish heritage with each piece of email. Let's please remember that. At the bottom line, we really are all one people, all brothers and sisters, children of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. May we - all of us together - go forward and receive the Torah. Chag Sameach!


Text Copyright © 1996 Rabbi Yaakov Menken and Project Genesis, Inc.

The author is the Director of Project Genesis.


 
Sell Chometz Online







ARTICLES ON PESACH AND THE OMER:

View Complete List

Why is this Night Different?
Rabbi Yehudah Prero - 5755

The Real Us!
Rabbi Label Lam - 5772

"HaKol B'Seder!"
Rabbi Dovid Green - 5762

Frumster - Orthodox Jewish Dating

Reading, Reviewing, Reciting
Rabbi Yehudah Prero - 5761

Pesach Answers - Chad Gadya
Rabbi Yehudah Prero - 5766

Pesach Questions
Rabbi Yehudah Prero - 5757

ArtScroll

Why Four Cups?
Rabbi Yehudah Prero - 5757

Relating the Chain of Events: Part 3
Rabbi Yehudah Prero - 5755

Pesach Weather
Rabbi Berel Wein - 5765

Looking for a Chavrusah?

You and Your Sons
Rabbi Yaakov Menken - 5757

Love of Money, or Money of Love?
Rabbi Gavriel Prero - 5761

Freedom and Speech
Rabbi Yehudah Prero - 5758

> The Sandwich of the Future
Rabbi Yehudah Prero - 5769

The Great Shabbat
Shlomo Katz - 5764

The Students of Rabbi Akiva
Rabbi Yehudah Prero - 5755

All About Dipping
Rabbi Yehudah Prero - 5755



Project Genesis

Torah.org Home


Torah Portion

Jewish Law

Ethics

Texts

Learn the Basics

Seasons

Features

TORAHAUDIO

Ask The Rabbi

Knowledge Base




Help

About Us

Contact Us



Free Book on Geulah!




Torah.org Home
Torah.org HomeCapalon.com Copyright Information