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.


 






ARTICLES ON LECH LECHA:

View Complete List

No Pain, No Gain
Rabbi Yisroel Ciner - 5758

Neither a Thread Nor a Shoelace
Rabbi Yissocher Frand - 5756

The Ordeal of Departure
Rabbi Naftali Reich - 5767

Looking for a Chavrusah?

Exile and Redemption
Rabbi Pinchas Winston - 5763

Reward May Come
Rabbi Yissocher Frand - 5760

Location is Everything
Rabbi Yissocher Frand - 5763

Frumster - Orthodox Jewish Dating

The Landlord Is Still Home
Rabbi Yissocher Frand - 5774

Of Threads and Shoelaces
Rabbi Naftali Reich - 5770

Cloudy Vision
Rabbi Naftali Reich - 5768

ArtScroll

Bris Milah: Mark of Distinction
Rabbi Osher Chaim Levene - 5766

Spiritual Yichus
Rabbi Aron Tendler - 5764

Redefining Pleasure
Rabbi Yochanan Zweig - 5772

> The Internal Journey
Rabbi Pinchas Winston - 5759

Genuine Kindness
Rabbi Shlomo Jarcaig - 5765

Go to the Land of Canaan
Rabbi Pinchas Winston - 5770

Obstacles and Opportunities
Rabbi Eliyahu Hoffmann - 5763



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