What does God really want from us?

We might not always live up to that level of commitment to G-d, but that is our target.

Phil Chernofsky,

IDF soldier, praying (illustrative)
IDF soldier, praying (illustrative)
Flash 90

We know that there is a whole discussion about standing for the reading of the Aseret HaDibrot or not. A long time ago, there was a suggestion to include the Aseret HaDibrot in the daily davening. It was rejected. There were periods in the passed when the first of the Luchot was not permitted to be used ion shul decorations: Parochet, Torah covers, even bench-ends.

Why all the fuss. The Aseret HaDibrot are very special. True, but they were viewed as special at the expense of the rest of the Torah.

So here's our review: In which sedra does the Torah tell us of Matan Torah (Revelation at Sinai)?
YITRO! Sorry, only partial credit for that answer. Actually, no points at all for that seriously inaccurate answer.

The Torah's account of the Sinai Experience is in Yitro and at the end of Parshat Mishpatim.
The Mishpatim part of the answer is very important, for a number of reasons.

When we were asked if we would accept G-d and the Torah, we all answered together NAASEH V'NISHMA. Despite what we wrote in last week's Lead Tidbit about the specialness of NAASEH, the greatness of Bnei Yisrael is measured by NAASEH V'NISHMA. Seems to have been the perfect answer.
We might not always live up to that level of commitment to G-d, but that is our target.
More important (perhaps) is that the Torah sandwiched the variety of mitzvot - many of them on the mundane side, between the two parts of the account of Matan Torah.
That requires us to look at some things differently.

Shavuot is not YOM MATAN TORATEINU, the day of the Giving of the Torah. It is the TIME of Matan Torah.

We need to look at Shavuot (whose exact date is not so exact, as the date of the dramatic event of Sinai. But a lot came before it, and more to the point, the day itself was followed by 40 days and 40 nights of the continuing Matan Torah. We were the ones who asked that Moshe tell us what G-d wants of us - otherwise we might have been present during those 40 days.

Instead, we spent almost 40 years learning about Torah and Mitzvot that first time around.
And it never stops. Rashi wasn't kidding when he said that the wording in the Torah indicates that every day we should see Torah with fresh eyes, as if it were given today. That's a lot more than a day, 40 days, 40 years.

And remember, there is the other part of Matan Torah. It's called Kabalat HaTorah. That is as vital as G-d's Giving - we must receive it. Not just with NAASEH V'NISHMA, but constantly...




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