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Get Excited!

By: Mrs. Lauren Goldshmidt

“In the third month from the Exodus of the Children of Israel from Egypt, on this day, they arrived at the Wilderness of Sinai” (Yisro, 19:1). Rashi makes the observation that seemingly it would have been more appropriate for the Torah to have said “on THAT day, they arrived at the Wilderness of Sinai”, so why instead did the Torah formulate the arrival to Sinai with the phrase “on this day?” Rashi answers that Chazal derive from here a lesson for all future generations, that the words of the Torah are supposed to be new and fresh upon us as if they were given to us “on this day.” We learn that we instructed to do everything in our power to make sure that the precious words of the Torah do not become stale and boring in our eyes. There are several difficulties with this Rashi. If we take a step back to observe the context where the Torah is teaching us this lesson, then we notice that the Torah is describing the arrival of klal yisroel at Har Sinai. However, the actual receiving of the Torah doesn’t take place for another few days. If Chazal are instructing us to renew our perception of the words of the Torah, then seemingly it would have been more befitting for the Torah to teach us this lesson when klal yisroel actually received the Torah, why would the Torah teach us this lesson now, if klal yisroel is still days aways from actually receiving the Torah, and they haven’t yet even experienced the freshness of having the words of the Torah. Furthermore, although Chazal clearly instruct us to makes sure the words of the Torah are new in our eyes, they seem to omit how one is supposed to accomplish such a lofty goal. Virtually all things naturally become stale and flat over time, so it would have been helpful to have received some advice on how to accomplish this difficult goal.

Perhaps, one can suggest that the Torah taught us this lesson specifically at the time of arrival of klal yisroal at har Sinai, in order to teach us the very method how to accomplish the lesson. The Torah is coming to teach us that the critical factor which will determine our success or failure at keeping the words of Torah fresh in our eyes is our arrival. Our arrival to the bais midrash, to our chavruta, or school will usually set the tone how we will experience our Torah study. One of the most effective ways to battle our human nature is to change our arrival.  Although we all deeply value the importance of Torah study, our very hectic lives can sometime make it hard for us to truly enjoy our Torah learning. If we can train ourselves to mentally prepare ourselves for our Torah study before we actually begin, then we can put ourselves in a much greater position to experience the Torah as if we received the Torah on that day. The excitement that we envision will make it much easier for it to become a true reality in our daily Torah study. As we prepare for the Chag of Shavuot, let us internalize the words of Chazal by arriving to our Torah study with a renewed vigor in order that we can experience the excitement.

Shabbat Shalom and Chag Same’ach.





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