Rebuilding Series: Soooo Jewish. By Marshall Lestz
Good Morning Everybody,
When reviewing the Torah’s account leading up to the giving of the 10 Commandments (in this week’s Torah portion), we find something pretty unexpected, and to me, I have to admit, quite humorous. It is SO QUINTESSENTIALLY JEWISH.
Starting about a week before the 10 Commandments were given, on the second day of Sivan, Moshe would go up and down the mountain each day. He’d receive messages from Hashem that he would relay to the people, and he’d also relay the people’s responses back to Hashem. (Moshe was definitely getting his steps in that week.)
So on the 3rd of Sivan, Hashem informs Moshe that He (Hashem) will declare the 10 Commandments directly to Moshe, and the people will basically get to “listen in”, you know, sort of “overhear” what Hashem says. So Moshe relays the news to the people and that’s when the world’s most classic Jewish response occurs. The people basically respond: “Uh… no deal. That’s not really how we see this thing going down, Moshe. With all due respect, we want to hear directly from G-d, not this little ‘waiting in the wings kind of situation.’”
Isn’t that classic?! G-d wasn’t asking our opinion! He wasn’t looking for us to sign off on His plan. Hashem was giving us instructions, and we’re like…”Nah, that doesn’t really work for us.” We turned the whole thing into a negotiation! We actually make Hashem a counter offer! (It’s in our genes people!)
Perhaps this episode can teach us something very fundamental about Judaism.
Let’s think…What was the big deal about the Jews wanting to hear directly from G-d? After all, they would’ve heard the words just as well when they were being told to Moshe. But thebig deal was that the people YEARNED for a personal connection with G-d! At that seminal time in our people’s history, they showed that having an intimate relationship with Hashem is at the heart of being Jewish. Even though Mt. Sinai is known as the place where Hashem gave us the Torah, it’s also the place where WE gave ourselves to Hashem.
Trying to negotiate a better deal with Hashem wasn’t what was so quintessentially Jewish. It was our longing to be closer to Him. That’s what was so Jewish!
May each of us follow in the footsteps of our great, great, great, great grandparents and do whatever’s in our power to strengthen our connection and personal relationship with Hashem.
Have an epic day and a super meaningful Shabbos,
Keep on Building!