Thursday, July 19, 2007

Parshas Devarim

יְהוָה אֱלהֵינוּ דִּבֶּר אֵלֵינוּ, בְּחרֵב לֵאמר: רַב-לָכֶם שֶׁבֶת, בָּהָר הַזֶּה. פְּנוּ וּסְעוּ לָכֶם, וּבאוּ הַר הָאֱמרִי וְאֶל-כָּל-שְׁכֵנָיו, בָּעֲרָבָה בָהָר וּבַשְּׁפֵלָה וּבַנֶּגֶב, וּבְחוֹף הַיָּם--אֶרֶץ הַכְּנַעֲנִי וְהַלְּבָנוֹן, עַד-הַנָּהָר הַגָּדֹל נְהַר-פְּרָת.

"Ad-noy, our G-d, addressed us at Choreiv, saying, "Enough of your living at this mountain! Turn and travel for yourselves and arrive at the Emorite hill [region] and at all its neighbors---on the plain, on the mountain, and in the lowland, and in the Negev, and on the seacoast; the land of the Canaanites and the Lebanon, up to the great river, the Euphrates River." (Devarim, 1:6-7)

Rashi (s.v. "Rav"): "According to its plain meaning [it refers to the extended length of time]; but there is an Aggadic interpretation: You have received much fame and reward as a result of your having dwelt on this mountain--- you constructed the Mishkan, the Menorah and [various other sacred] articles, you received the Torah, you appointed a Sanhedrin for yourselves, officers in charge of hundreds and officers of thousands."

Rashi, quoting the Medrash, tells us that Hashem was praising the Jewish people for all that they had accomplished at Har Sinai and its surroundings. They received the Torah, served in the Mishkan, etc, and they had, therefore, been at this place long enough. One would think that after Hashem explains all of the noteworthy, holy, things that the Jews accomplished during their tenure at Har Sinai, he would continue with Inyanim that would be befitting of such a holy nation. However, the following Pasuk explains that the Jews are to travel to Har haEmori, hardly a place befitting of such a holy nation.

Rav Aharon Baksht (1869-1941) explains, to answer this question, that one may have thought that it wasn't proper for such a holy nation to dwell amongst the other nations of the world. However, we see from the fact that this pasuk follows the one explaining the merits of Israel that this isn't the case; the Torah and the Jewish people are for every single person in every single place. The Jews weren't meant to live in solitude in the desert forever; rather, they were meant to share that which they had gained in their experiences at Har Sinai with the world around them.

Each of us excel at different things. We shouldn't think that because there are no or few others that excel at whatever it is that we should be reserved and hold back these attributes. Of course, one shouldn't be haughty either, but we learn from these verses that we are obligated to take those things that which we excel at and take them out into the world and use them to influence others.


Post a Comment

<< Home