Sunday, February 24, 2008
Torah from Beis Yeamans
This past Shabbos I had the privilege of staying with the Yeamans family in beautiful Scarsdale,NY.
After davening on Shabbos day, the Rav and the Rebbetzin of the community came over to the Yeamans home for a brief Kiddush and discussion of the weekly Parsha.
As conversation changed from the conventional chatter that comes with introductions, The Rav proceeded to ask a question stemming from Parshas Ki Sisa that he said, "had been bothering him for quite some time."
The Gemara Brachos 7a (See "Parshas Ki Sisa - "...First isn't the worst") discusses Moshe's refusal to see the Ribbono Shel Olam's face, even after G-d insists that he does. With an inquisitive tone the Rabbi asked, "If G-d offered Moses the Divine opportunity to see his face, who is Moses to say no?!"
After internalizing the question for a moment or so, I suggested (Yes, I believe that I raised my hand!), Perhaps Moshe did not refuse. He saw G-d "panim al panim", but he chose not to internalize his vision.
There are times in our lives when we read, see, or even experience things that we chose not to internalize. Moshe Rabbeinu saw the Ribono Shel Olam in His full glory, he just never saw him with the right perspective. Only when he stood on Har Sinai did he chose to view G-d with the correct intentions. Unfortunately, by that point in time it was too late.
It seems that many of our mistakes throughout history have not been in practice but in perspective. So much so that the Second Temple was destroyed because of it. It is said that the Temple was destroyed because we did not say Bircas HaTorah before learning Torah. Can this be? Did every person in Klal Yisrael make the same mistake? Is it possible that after generations of saying a blessing, that everyone communally made the decision to drop this piece of their tradition?
One is forced to answer that the reason for the Temple destruction was not because they didn't say Bircas HaTorah, of course they did! The reason was because they didn't have the right perspective or approach to the learning of Torah. It was more of an intellectual pursuit than a way of life. We had the wrong perspective
The lesson that Moshe learned at Har Sinai was not one of his generation a lone but it is one that will remain for Dorei Doros. Moshe might have been the first person to have a test at a burning bush, but each and every one of us regularly is tested at a burning bush of our own.