In the Shabbat following Tisha B’Ab we always read the Parashah Va-et-
hannan as the Torah portion. Moshe Rabenu a’h continues his words of
rebuke and encouragement in the last days of his life recounting his
personal pleas for permission to enter the Land of Israel and the events
surrounding the gathering of our people around Mount Sinai to accept
Hashem’s great gift to us – our holy Torah.
The Talmud [Kiddushin 31a] relates the gentile’s reaction to the Ten
Commandments. Upon hearing the first two utterances, “I am Hashem your G-
d” and “You shall have no other gods” they refused the commandments.
However, when they heard Honor your father and mother” they said, “If we
honor our flesh and blood parents we must honor Hashem even more”.
Why did they at first reject and then accept? They obviously believed in
His existence and power.
The human being’s judgment is clouded by personal prejudice. The Evil
Inclination uses our biases to lead us to incorrect conclusions. People
covet their freedom and the right to do whatever they like without
restrictions. The gentiles did not want to be subjected to rules of
behavior and demands of responsibility and so they accused Hashem of
giving the Torah for His own glory and not for the benefit of mankind.
Their prejudice was reinforced by the fact that they did not understand
the laws. However, when they heard something that was an incontestable
fact - even to their biased minds - they accepted the whole Torah as true.
They easily assimilated the concept that one should honor and respect
those who gave him or her life and then they expanded on that value to
gain a greater belief in the Almighty.
We can use this technique in our lives as well. When one is confronted
with a religious duty or concept that one finds difficult to understand
and accept one should search one’s memory bank and review one’s own life
experiences to locate a similar incident that was easier to understand –
even if it took hindsight to do so. Think of the flight that was missed
that turned out to be a disaster or the change in plans that was
unintentional but that led to unexpected success. When one realizes that
life is a matter of –emunah – faith – one can expand on the concept to
other areas of life and grow closer to Our Creator. From the things that
do make sense one can learn to accept those events that do not.