Friday, February 22, 2008

Parshas Ki Sisa - "Second is the Best, but First Isn't the Worst"

QUICKIE/FUNFACT: (Shemos 33:20) "He said, You Shall not be able to see My face, for no human can see My face and live."

The (Gemara Brachos 7a) mentions that Hashem said to Moshe, "when I wanted to reveal myself to you (at the burning bush) you did not want to see me, now that you want to see me, I don't want to see you."

Rav Yechezkel Abramsky Zt"l exlains that at the burning bush Hashem wanted Moshe to see him and to have an understanding of G-d's initiative for Klal Yisrael. This was so they would not sin. Nonetheless Moshe did not want to look. Now at Har Sinai when Moshe finally wanted to glance at the Ribbono Shel Olam, Hashem turned him down because the only reason why looking at Hashem was necessary was when there were no prior sins or a Torah to live by. Now that the Torah was given, G-d has no reason to reveal himself.

Commenting on the words, (Shemos 34:1) "Psol Licha Shnei Luchos Avanim Karishonim" "Carve for yourselves two Tablets like the first ones", the Medrish Tanchuma says that from the moment Hakadosh Baruch Hu said, "I am the Lord your G-d" the tablets were destined to be broken because an Eyin Hara was cast on them.

Only after the first Luchos had been broken does Hashem tell Moshe that the Second set of Luchos will be given in private. A simple question that must be asked is, if Hashem knew that the first Luchos were destined to be broken because they were given in public, why didn't Hashem give them in private?

Rav Yosef Dov Soloveitchik Zt"l answers that when we say the Havdala prayer on Motzei Shabbos we recognize a few different types of havdalas (contrasts). There is the difference between Kodesh and Chol (Holy and Secular), Ohr and Choshech (Light and Dark), and Yisrael and the Amim (Israel and all other nations).

There is a major distinction made that humans and animals can see the contrast between light and darkness. To a certain degree even the flowers and the shrubs can recognize the difference these two things. This is in contrast to the difference between the Sacred and the secular. This difference is one that is almost completely hidden from the eye. (Kiddushin 68a)In the story of the Akeida, only Avraham and Yitzchak could see the holiness that hovered above the makom of the Akeida/ Mt. Moriah and not Yishmael who came with them (see Gemara for more details). We can see from this Gemara that the difference between the sacred and the secular is almost undetectable.

Lastly there is the difference that G-d created between the nation of Israel and the rest of the nations. When creating mankind Hakadosh Baruch Hu decided that everyone's exteriors, both Jewish and non-Jewish, would be similar. Thus meaning that this final difference is hidden to the human eye. There are many Jews who are meticulous with Torah commandments even though on the streets they may not look like Jews at all. Only once they close their doors and are in the confines of their homes does their true Jewish side come out.

When Hashem gave Klal Yisrael the first Luchos the entire world shook. At that point, in fear that G-d was destroying the world, all of the nations came running to Bilaam's court asking him to save their lives. After listening to every single one of them plead and cry, Bilaam answered, "Hashem Oz Liamo Yitein Hashem Yivareich Es Amo BaShalom." He told them that they have nothing to worry about. G-d was delivering the Torah to his people, the nation of Israel. Even though Hashem knew that the first Luchos were going to be destroyed, He still gave them in public so that everyone in the world would know the difference between Klal Yisrael and all of the other nations. They were G-d's chosen people. (Also said in the name of R' Meir Shapiro Zt"l , who is most famous for instituting the Daf Yomi cycle.)



elchanan clingman said...

hey i really liked this dvar torah thanks

Ibn Mordechai said...

Thank you very much for reading. Your comments are always welcome.

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You are Sorely Missed!