SALT - Wednesday, 13 Av 5779 - August 14, 2019

  • Rav David Silverberg
            Yesterday, we noted Moshe’s command to Benei Yisrael in Parashat Vaetchanan (4:9-10) never to forget the event of Ma’amad Har Sinai, when God revealed Himself to the entire nation and proceeded to give them the Torah.  The Ramban, both in his commentary to this verse and in his critique to the Rambam’s Sefer Ha-mitzvot, famously considers this admonition a Biblical command.
            Rav Chanoch Henoch of Alexander, in his Chashavah Le-tova, suggests that this command require more than simply remembering the event of Matan Torah, and is relevant also to the quasi “Matan Torah” events that we occasionally experience.  Every so often, the Rebbe of Alexander writes, we receive some inspiration, or we feel invigorated, or we arrive at some new insight, an “epiphany,” that gives us a new degree of clarity and understanding about how we should act and who we should be.  In short, there are certain occasions when we feel especially strong motivation and ambition to reach higher.  The Rebbe of Alexander describes these moments as a type of “kabbalat ha-Torah” – a personal “Ma’amad Har Sinai” of sorts, when we, in a sense, again receive the Torah from God.  These moments are gifts and opportunities for us to utilize for the purpose of growth and self-improvement.  And thus the Rebbe of Alexander writes that just as the Torah commands us not to forget the original Ma’amad Har Sinai, similarly, we must never forget our personal “Ma’amad Har Sinai” experiences, those occasional moments of inspiration and motivation.  We must seize those opportunities and utilize them as catalysts for growth and advancement, rather than allow them to pass us by without leaving any impact.
             It is very easy to be distracted and lured away from our religious obligations and ideals.  We are constantly challenged by competing trappings and temptations that catch our attention and draw our interest.  The Rebbe of Alexander here teaches us that in this ongoing struggle, we must, at very least, capitalize on those rare moments when we are “lured” in the proper direction, when we feel motivated and driven to elevate ourselves.  Just as we must remember Matan Torah, the time when as a nation we were given our mission and the direction we must follow, likewise, we must look to our personal moments of inspiration as defining our life’s mission and establishing the goals that we should strive to reach throughout our lives – even when we don’t feel as driven and motivated.