Last week we learned about the reaction of the world to the miracles that Hashem did for B'nei Yisroel. All the world shook with fear from this nation who the G-d of the world performed the most wonderful miracles for. Everyone realized how special B'nei Yisroel were. Who would even think of starting up with them? Well, Amaleik did. They ignored the special quality of B'nei Yisroel. They ignored the miracles that Hashem performed. They weren't sensitive towards the message Hashem gave to the world. There was one person who was sensitive to hear what Hashem did to B'nei Yisroel. This person was Yitro. He heard all that Hashem did to B'nei Yisroel and learned the...LESSON:
Hashem is always talking to us in very hidden ways. A spiritually sensitive person will hear the message of Hashem. A person who doesn't take life seriously, doesn't hear the message that Hashem is telling him. This was Amaleik. Yitro, on the other hand, heard. He packed his bags and came to 'hook up' with this special nation.STORY:
Rav Moshe Leib Sassover was on a wagon and a bunch of hay fell down. The wagon driver told Rav Moshe Leib to pick up all the hay, but Rav Moshe Leib was old and weak and said "I can't." The wagon driver said; "You can, You just don't want to!" Rav Moshe Leib heard the words of the wagon driver as a message from Hashem. "You can do it, you just don't want to." There are many situations in life that we pass up due to our perception that we 'can't' do it. If there's a will, there's a way. Nothing stands in the way of a person's will.Here's another story about listening to the message being sent...
STORY: Rav Zusia from Anipoli was up late one night learning, when he heard the tailor's wife insisting that her husband finishes his work for the night. He told her, "As long as the candle is still burning, there's time to fix the garment." Rav Zusia understood this as a message form Hashem that as long as a person is still alive, there is time to improve and 'fix' himself.
Yitro picked himself up from the luxury of Midyan, where he was a respected priest and brought himself to the wilderness to learn Torah. He also realized that it was not enough to stay where he was and merely change his life there, he had to join B'nei Yisroel and learn Torah. If a nation like Amaleik can be so unaffected by the miracles performed for B'nei Yisroel, it must not be enough to remain where you are.STORY:
LESSON: You have to attach yourself to Torah to ensure that you will never end up so desensitized.
Rav Boruch Ber Leibowitz (Rosh Ha yeshiva -Kaminetz) was attacked and almost killed by a gang. Rav Boruch Ber later said how much joy we must now feel when we say the Bracha on Torah, Asher Bochar Banu... that You chose us from all other nations and gave us Your Torah... We see how we too could end up had Hashem not given us the Torah.
Yitro realized the greatness of Hashem, in the way Hashem punished the Mitzrim Middah K'negged Middah (the punishment fits the crime). The Mitzrim wanted to destroy B'nei Yisroel by drowning the baby boys in water, they ended up drowning in water. Yitro served every type of idol, until he realized that Hashem is the ultimate truth. Now he comes to be with his son-in-law, Moshe. Moshe didn't see his family from the time Hashem appeared to him in the burning bush, to assign to him the mission of freeing B'nei Yisroel. Now Yitro will bring Tziporah (Moshe's wife & Yitro's daughter) and Gershom & Eliezer (Moshe & Tzipporah's sons) to join Moshe Rabbeinu and the rest of B'nei Yisroel in the wilderness to receive the Torah. Moshe Rabbeinu goes to meet his Yitro and of course, his wife and 2 sons. When everyone saw Moshe Rabbeinu (with Aharon & his sons) going out to greet Yitro, they all followed.
Now Yitro was given great honor since he was Moshe Rabbeinu's father-in-law. Moshe Rabbeinu bows down to Yitro, kisses him & asks him how he is. Yitro comes to the camp of B'nei Yisroel. Moshe Rabbeinu tells him of all the miracles Hashem performed for them, when they were in trouble being chased by the Mitzrim, as well as the war with Amaleik.
Yitro was happy with the victory Hashem performed for B'nei Yisroel, yet he was also sad that Mitzrayim was destroyed (Yitro was an advisor to Paroh, but ran away when he realized Paroh's intent to destroy B'nei Yisroel). How can that be? If Yitro was happy, how could he also have been sad? A person can feel 2 opposite emotions at the same time. There is a Bracha a person makes upon hearing good news (Boruch...Ha-Tov V' HaMeitiv) & a Bracha for bad news (Boruch...Dayan Ha-Emet). What would happen if a person would hear good news & bad news at the same time? Can a person be happy & sad simultaneously? Imagine a guy hears that his factory burned down but a treasure was found amongst the rubble. This person would feel sad & happy simultaneously.
LESSON: If a person can feel both good & bad simultaneously, then if you are sad about something, concentrate on happy thoughts. No matter how much bad is in a person's life, there's always lots more good. Try to put the good thoughts in your mind when you have bad ones.
Yitro brings sacrifices to Hashem and has a meal with Aharon & the Zekainim (Elders). Where was Moshe Rabbeinu? He was actually serving the people at the meal. This sounds odd. What was the greatest person in the world doing being a waiter?
Moshe Rabbeinu felt that serving his father-in-law along with the other great people there, was an honor.
STORY: A guest of the Chofetz Chaim noticed his host making the bed. The man frantically went to take over the chore from the Chofetz Chaim. "Rebbe, you shouldn't be doing such a thing, let me do it!" The Chofetz Chaim looked at him in amazement and said, "will you put on T'fillin for me too? This mitzvah of Hachnasat Orchim is like all other Mitzvot which I wouldn't give away the honor to perform."
The Chofetz Chaim was honored to make the bed for any Jew staying at his house. Moshe Rabbeinu was honored to serve the people.
Yitro observes how things went with Moshe Rabbeinu, and saw there can be an improvement. Moshe would answer all the questions & deal with judging the whole nation.
How could one person deal with a whole nation of 600,000 people? He suggests to Moshe Rabbeinu to appoint people below him to deal with the easier problems. This way, Moshe Rabbeinu would have an easier time and the people wouldn't have to wait on line for him. The type of judge he suggested were those people who had money (so they wouldn't be interested in winning over the rich people), people who fear Hashem (obviously, only a person who fears Hashem can determine what Hashem would consider in any given case), people who are trustworthy (so the nation will follow their decision), and people who hate taking money (so they won't be interested in bribes).
Yitro suggested to appoint judges who would judge over 1,000 people, 100, 50 or 10.
Yitro returns to his hometown to convert his family. Caring people share their inspiration and knowledge of the truth with others. Yitro left us with the LESSON: to take action when you're inspired.
After the Gulf War, when Israel was bombed by 39 deadly missiles and no more than 1 person was killed by them, many saw the miracles of Hashem and changed their lives to one of Torah.
It's now the 3rd month since we've left Mitzrayim (1-Nissan 2-Iyar 3-Sivan)and we arrived at Har Sinai. Although all the other times we arrived in a place, we had arguments and disagreements, this time we are united in our cause.
We look at the mountain upon which the Torah will be given in another 6 days. It is a small and seemingly unimpressive mountain. Why would Hashem chose to give the Torah on this particular mountain? Why in the wilderness? There is nothing here? Not a very impressive looking place? The answer must be that Hashem wants to teach us a LESSON:
Torah is received by a person who is humble. Hashem doesn't give Torah to people who think of themselves as great mountains, towering above others. When a person makes himself small and insignificant (like Har Sinai), plain and simple (like the wilderness), he is the kind of person who can receive the Torah.
STORY: The 2 great Torah scholars of the 1800's, Rabbi Akiva Eiger & the"Nesivos" were traveling together to a city in a horse pulled carriage. The custom was that the inhabitants of the city would gather to wait for the sage's carriage to pull up. They would then detach the horses and pull the carriage themselves. When the "Nesivos" & Rabbi Akiva Eiger saw the honor that was given by the people, they both sneaked out of the carriage to join the crowds in giving honor to the Talmid Chacham, Each one thought that the honor given was to the other one, so they both were in the crowd pulling the carriage that was empty! Only until after did everyone realize what had taken place, that these great men thought that honor was only due to the other.
Moshe Rabbeinu went up to speak to Hashem on Har Sinai. Hashem gives Moshe a message to repeat to the women & then the men. Why was this introduction to the giving of the Torah first related to the women before the men?LESSON:1- Women are obligated in Mitzvot a year before men (age 12 & men age 13)The message was; "You saw how I brought you from Egypt on wings of eagles (quickly- B'nei Yisroel were scattered about, yet at a moment's notice, were gathered) and brought you to Me. Now, if you listen to my voice (follow what Hashem wants from you & not just fulfill the minimum of what you heard that you need to do to be considered 'religious' and guard my covenant with you (1- Brit Millah is our way of declaring that all our desires should be for Hashem. 2- Brit of Shabbos is our way of declaring that ourlove is directed towards Hashem. 3- Brit of idol worship is our way of declaring that all our belief is to Hashem and not to idols) then you will be a treasure to me from amongst all the other nations. You will be for me a priestly kingdom and a holy nation."
2- Hashem wanted to honor the women since they are the ones who teach Torah to the young children at home.
Generally, a child's initial education in Torah and Mitzvot are from the mother's influence at home. 3- Women shouldn't think that if they don't keep Mitzvot properly, it's not as bad as if men don't.
4- Hashem wanted to honor the women since it was because of them that we were taken out of Mitzrayim.
We should realize that we are the ones in the world who are supposed to be living a holy life. The world should look up to us and learn from our example what it means to live a holyand moral life.
Moshe Rabbeinu descends from the mountain and relays the message from Hashem & everyone answered united, "We will do it all (Na'aseh)." Now Moshe Rabbeinu goes up the mountainto tell Hashem what they all said.
(I know exactly what you're thinking; Doesn't Hashem already know what B'neiYisroel said? Why did he have to relay back the message? The answer is that Moshe felt that it was respectful to tell Hashem that he did the job he was asked to and the result of his completed task (that they wanted to hear the voice of Hashem).)
Hashem tells Moshe Rabbeinu that He will appear to Moshe in a cloud and will talk to him. Everyone will witness this spectacular spectacle and will believe in the unbelievable revelation of Hashem to Moshe Rabbeinu. They will also believe in the prophecy of the other prophets who came later (although they didn't have the same ability to be spoken to by Hashem, as Moshe had). Moshe Rabbeinu relates the upcoming event to B'nei Yisroel, but they want to hear Hashem's voice directly. 4th day of Sivan- Moshe Rabbeinu tells Hashem that they want to experience this first hand. Hashem instructs Moshe to instruct the nation that for the next 3 days they were to prepare themselves for the giving of the Torah on day 3 (which is the 6th day of Sivan). Hashem warns Moshe of the consequence if B'nei Yisroel touch the mountain. The holiness was so great that even a slight touch of the mountain would cause a person to die. Could you imagine if the Torah itself was tampered with? Could you imagine if a person would want to change even one letter of the Torah, or for that matter a Mitzvah commanded in the Torah? The Torah is perfect, for it's the creation of the Creator of the world. The Torah is the key to understanding the complex soul of a Jew, as well as the key to unlocking the secret of the universe.
Could you imagine how much holiness this mountain had as a result of the Torah that was given on it? Now, imagine how holy a Torah scholar must be. Whatever respect and awe was given to the lifeless mountain, is only a fraction of the respect and awe due to a Talmid Chacham. There was a practice some years ago that when a person went to speak with a Talmid Chacham, he would dress in Shabbos clothes out of respect. One of the great Chachomim of the Gemorah, would 'unwind' from his intense schedule, by sitting at the entrance to the Bait Medrash and stand for the other Talmidei Chachomim.
Moshe Rabbeinu made a boundary around the mountain to ensure the safety of B'nei Yisroel. But I don't understand! If the nation all knew of the possibility of death for the person who touched the mountain, who in their left right mind would touch it?LESSON:
B'nei Yisroel desire to be close to Hashem. If they sense the presence of Hashem on the mountain, they will surely want to come close to Hashem without thinking of the outcome. This is one of the many special qualities we have; Our greatest desire in life is to be close to Hashem.
5th day of Sivan, Moshe Rabbeinu Built a 'Mizbayach' beneath the mountain along with 12 monuments. B'nei Yisroel prepare themselves for the most important event the world experienced. The world was only created in order for the Jewish people to accept the Torah. The stage is set. It's Shabbos morning, the - 6th day of Sivan, 2,448 (3,313 years ago) and Hashem is waiting for our alarms to go off. Can you believe it? We overslept? (For this reason we have the Minhag of staying up all night on Sh'vuot to learn).
Moshe Rabbeinu announces to B'nei Yisroel that the 'Chosson' (groom- Hashem) is waiting for the 'Kallah'(bride-B'nei Yisroel). Hashem loves us so much, that he waited for us on Har Sinai to give us the Torah. There is thunder & lightning on the mountain, as well as smoke. The mountain shakes & so does everyone else. The sound of the Shofar is getting louder and louder, while Moshe Rabbeinu instructs the nation to gather at the bottom of the Har Sinai. We were all there. Every Jewish soul as well as the people who would convert to become Jews were there at Har Sinai.STORY:
Rav Aryeh Levin was known to visit the sick in the hospital. He spent hours talking with those unfortunate people who spent their time in constant pain and loneliness. One such patient was a badly wounded soldier who got the attention and sympathy of the Tzaddik of Yerushalayim for a long visit. The soldier asked Rav Aryeh Levin, "From where do you know me?" The Tzaddik answered him, "On Har Sinai we stood together!"
This is the attitude that Tzaddikim have, but we can too. If we realize that the experience at Har Sinai is common to every Jew, we can feel attached to every Jew, regardless of looks, actions and country of birth. We all are connected to the holy Torah. There are 600,000 basic souls that make up the Jewish people and there are 600,000 basic letters that are in the Torah. Every Jewish soul is connected to the Torah through the letter in it connected to his soul. If one letter of the Torah is missing or written wrong, the whole Torah is non-kosher. If even one Jew is not part of the rest of the nation or is not living a proper, 'kosher' life, the whole Jewish nation is incomplete and 'damaged.' Let's bring all Jews close to Torah so we will be complete and 'kosher.' We're all connected!
Hashem comes down to the Mountain top and calls Moshe to come up. Now Hashem will 'talk' to B'nei Yisroel by giving them the 10 commandments (not the movie- the actual commands). Hashem says all 10 in one shot & went back to repeat them individually. They experienced such a revelation, they were thrown back for miles, and their souls left them. Hashem revived them, but no longer were they able to hear Hashem talking, they weren't on that spiritual level. They did hear the first 2 of the 'Dibrot' (commands) from Hashem before Moshe Rabbeinu took over.LESSON:
When a person experiences Hashem in a way that is too powerful for that person, it can be dangerous. If a person is in a dark house and suddenly looks at the sun, the person can become blind by the intensity of the sun's rays. This is what it was like for the people who 'heard' the voice of Hashem, they were 'blinded' by the holiness of Hashem.Let's take a look at the
Don't make gold or silver images to represent G-d.GOOD SHABBOS © 1998 by R' Matis Friedman, H.A.F.T.R.
A 'Mizbayach' (Altar for sacrificing) must be made on the ground itself and not on pillars.
Metal tools cannot be used to make the stones for the Mizbayach.
A ramp should be used to climb up to the Mizbayach. If steps were used, the Kohain would step up and it was considered immodest (even though he wore pants).
WOW- if Hashem is concerned with the disgracing of stone, that has no feeling, how much more so must we respect the honor of people with feelings.
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