Redoing the Giving of the Torah

May 22, 2015 at 6:20 PM , ,

“…And they stood at the bottom of the mountain…” – Shemos 19:17

וַיִּתְיַצְּבוּ בְּתַחְתִּית הָהָר – שמות יט, יז

The Previous Lubavitcher Rebbe, Rabbi Yosef Yitzchak Schneerson, of righteous memory, would bless people before the holiday of Shavuos, “to receive the Torah b’simchauv’pnimiyus, joyfully and internally.”

At the Giving of the Torah at Mount Sinai, both of these qualities were somewhat lacking. Firstly, the Torah was given to Bnei Yisrael on G-d’s initiative, not through Bnei Yisrael’s efforts and toil. As such, their relationship with the Torah was superimposed; it did not come from within them.

Furthermore, according to the Talmud (Shabbos 88a), G-d raised Mount Sinai over Bnei Yisrael and said to them, “If you accept the Torah, that’s great. But if not, you will be summarily buried beneath this mountain.”  (The Talmud thus interprets the verse, “and they [Bnei Yisrael] stood at the bottom of the mountain,” to mean not at the foot of the mountain, but underneath the mountain.) Considering that Bnei Yisrael did not have a choice in the matter, their acceptance of the Torah at Mount Sinai cannot be said to have been gladly! In fact, the Talmud declares that the coercion under the mountain “furnished a strong disclaimer against the acceptance of the Torah,” until the Jews reaccepted the Torah willingly after the Purim miracle, almost a thousand later.

Giving of the Torah
This then is the meaning of the Previous Rebbe’s blessing, and with it the Divine assistance that it be fulfilled, that we should receive the Torah b’simcha uv’pnimiyus. Meaning, that unlike the first Shavuos, this time around we should accept the Torah willingly and happily, and our joy in receiving the Torah shall enable us to truly absorb and internalize its message.

—Toras Menachem, vol. 3, pp. 142-143


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