Vol 28.02 - Rosh Chodesh Sivan       Spanish French Audio  Video

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(5746) On Rosh Chodesh Sivan "he Moses said nothing to them on account of their exhaustion from the Journey (Tal. Shab. 88b). Explanation of the saying of Chazal (Rashi and Mechilta Yitro 19:2) that when they came to Har Sinai, the Bnei Yisroel were "as one man with one heart, but all the other encampments were divided with complaints and with strife". Two aspects to the preparation of Bnei Yisroel to Matan Torah.


1. On the verses (Ex. 19:1-2):

“In the third month . . on this day they arrived in the desert of Sinai. . .and Yisroel encamped there opposite the mountain.”


בַּחֹ֨דֶשׁ֙ הַשְּׁלִישִׁ֔י לְצֵ֥את בְּנֵֽי־יִשְׂרָאֵ֖ל מֵאֶ֣רֶץ מִצְרָ֑יִם בַּיּ֣וֹם הַזֶּ֔ה בָּ֖אוּ מִדְבַּ֥ר סִינָֽי

וַיִּֽחַן־שָׁ֥ם יִשְׂרָאֵ֖ל נֶ֥גֶד הָהָֽר

The Sages state that “this day” refers to the day of Rosh Chodesh, namely that on the day of Rosh Chodesh Sivan (the third month) the Yidden came to Mount Sinai.

This itself, that the Yidden came to Mount Sinai, before the Torah was given, is already an extremely wondrous virtue, as we say in the Haggadah, “If He had brought us before Mount Sinai, and had not given us the Torah Dayeinu, it would have sufficed us!”

For the very aspect of being in proximity “opposite the mountain” accomplished within the Yidden a wondrous elevation (עילוי נפלא), as the Sages state on the verse “and Yisroel encamped there opposite the mountain” that they were “as one man with one heart” (כאיש אחד בלב אחד). Thus, through the Yidden encamping “opposite the mountain”, they became completely united (באחדות גמורה), “as one man with one heart”.

However, we find a wondrous thing, seemingly, with regard to Rosh Chodesh Sivan:

The Talmud discuses, in detail, how Moshe Rabbeinu prepared the Yidden to receive the Torah, during the days from their arrival at Mount Sinai until the day of Matan Torah itself:

  • On the second day of Sivan, He said to them: “And you shall be to Me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation".
  • On the third day of Sivan, He said to them the Mitzvah of Hagbala - setting boundaries around Mount Sinai.
  • On the fourth day of Sivan, the Mitzvah of Perisha - husbands and wives separating from one another.
  • On the fifth day of Sivan, Moshe “Built an altar and offered a Korban on it”

Whereas on the day of Rosh Chodesh Sivan, the day that they came to Mount Sinai, the Talmud states that, “He did not say anything to them due to the weariness caused by the journey” (״לא אמר להו ולא מידי משום חולשא דאורחא״) . In other words, since the Yidden were weak due to the journey, Moshe delayed (אפגעווארט) the preparation to receive the Torah, until the following day (the second of Sivan).

This is, entirely not understandable:

There is a well-known statement of the Sages that when the Yidden left Egypt, they had a deep desire (געוואלדיקע תשוקה) to receive the Torah. So much so, that they counted the remaining days until Matan Torah. Therefore, it is understood simply, that the closer they came to the day of receiving the Torah, this very desire also became that much stronger. And certainly when approaching Mount Sinai, the place where the Torah would be given – it most certainly evoked within the Yidden the strongest feelings of desire and anticipation to receive the Torah.

We see this in man’s nature. When a person has strong yearnings (געגועים) for a thing, then the tiredness (פארמאטערטקייט) of his body, does not matter to the extent that it prevents his drive (באמיאונג) from attaining the thing.

And this is especially so when he is close to attaining that which he desires. For at that time, he certainly does not feel the weariness of the body.

Therefore, it is puzzling, that being “opposite the mountain”, after all the weeks and days of yearning for the receiving of the Torah, that Moshe Rabbeinu would delay from preparing the Yidden to receive the Torah due the “weariness caused by the journey”?!

Moreover, (as the Sages precisely note) “he did not say to them, anything at all”.

In other words, he did not say to them even one word, in any of this matter (i.e. the preparation to receiving the Torah)!,

Yet even on the Yidden’s part, how is it possible that the Yidden agreed to “rest” (אפצורוען) and did not demand from Moshe, that he should let them hear something (at the very least) regarding receiving the Torah!

This is especially so since it was not such a “hard journey” that caused them a great exhaustion, for:

  1. From Rephidim to Mount Sinai is not a great distance.
  2. The journey itself is not connected with any great hardship, for the Clouds of Glory travelled ahead of them “raising the lowlands and lowering the highlands”, so much so that their traveling was on level ground.
  3. Rosh Chodesh Sivan was on a Sunday (or Monday) which followed the complete rest of Shabbat.

It is even more puzzling:

Why did the Yidden have so much exhaustion, because of which, they were not meriting of hearing even one word (not anything) regarding receiving the Torah?

2. One could say that the explanation of this is:

With the phrase “weariness caused by the journey”, the Sages do not mean, (so much) the weariness of the body due to their physical journey, but rather (mainly) to the spiritual weariness due to the spiritual journey of “the way” (דרך) that the Yidden at that time endured.

Just as there is a physical journey from one physical place to another, so too there is an aspect of spiritual travelling on a spiritual “path”. The person goes from one condition (place) in spirituality to a second condition (place) in spirituality, whether it is an elevation or descent - or whether it is a change from another aspect. This can be in Middot (characteristics) of the heart – love and fear etc.), intellect (of the mind – his intellectual understanding etc.) or manners and paths in Avodat HaShem.

All this is “journeying on a path” in spirituality.

In our case:

The journeys that the Yidden took from Egypt to Har Sinai were not just physical journeys, but also, and primarily, spiritual journeys. They represented a change in the spiritual condition of the Yidden and an elevation in Avodat HaShem which brought them closer and more fitting to receiving the Torah.

This is as is stated in the sefarim (Zohar Chadash) that while in Egypt, the Yidden were steeped in the forty-nine gates of impurity, and every day there was a (counting and an) elevation from those gates. So much so that after the forty-nine elevations they became completely elevated that they became a “kingdom of priests and a holy nation” at Matan Torah.

All these “journeys”- elevations in Avodat HaShem – were in an orderly manner (אופן מסודר), an elevation from one level to the next. However, the elevation that occurred at that journey, from Rephidim to Har Sinai, was in a manner of a radical difference (שינוי עיקרי). They had caused a great “distancing” (מרחק) (in spirituality) and were subsequently elevated, incomparably, in comparison to the journeys and elevations of the preceding days. Therefore, it is understood that this is connected with great “exhaustion” (״טירחא״) and exertion (in Avodat HaShem).

3. The uniqueness (אויסגעטיילטקייט) of this journey was expressed in their aforementioned statement of the Sages (on the verse “and Yisroel encamped there”), “as one man with one heart, but all the other encampments were with complaints and with strife”:

By “all the other encampments” there were “complaints and strife”. Whereas, specifically with this journey, opposite the mountain, the Yidden were in complete unity “as one man with one heart”.

One could say that the explanation of “all the other encampments were with complaints and with strife” is not, G-d forbid, literal, namely that in all the other journeys there was dispute in physical things, and so forth. Rather, it was dispute for the sake of Heaven (מחלוקת לשם שמים). For due to the nature that G-d imbued in people, people have differing opinions, as it states, people’s “opinions are not equal”. Moreover – in Torah itself, there are differing opinions.

(and even more so, it states that, “Words of Torah were not given as clear-cut decisions (חתוכין), rather each thing possesses forty-nine arguments by which it may be proved pure and conversely forty-nine arguments by which it may be proved impure.”).

In addition, it also states, “both are the words of the Living G-d”. Therefore, accordingly it is understood that due to the nature of holiness (הטבע דקדושה), and the order of things in spirituality, that all the other journeys were with dispute for the sake of Heaven.

However, when they were “opposite the mountain”, the Yidden accomplished a critical innovation (חידוש עיקרי) (the opposite of nature). All the differences of opinion were nullified and they were united “as one man” (and even more so) “with one heart”.

Not just as one person, meaning with a unity that visibly shows that they are as “as one man” with regard to deed etc.

(in other words that all the Yidden agree and decide with one resolve to act so, in actuality)

Rather they were also united with “one heart” – a complete unity, even in the heart (feelings) of the person.

It is understood that such a great spiritual exertion (טירחא), endeavoring and struggling to attain such a unity

(which is an exceedingly “great distance” (ווייטער מהלך) in spirituality, namely to nullify any iota of dispute, even dispute for the sake of Heaven, and even in one’s heart alone)

must effect, within the Yidden a great exhaustion (אויסגעמאטערטקייט). Therefore,”he did not say anything to them”.

4. One could say a deeper explanation in this:

“Weariness caused by the journey” is not just an aspect of lacking (חסרון),

(Namely, that due to the weariness of the Yidden, they could not occupy themselves with the preparations to receiving the Torah) –

but, in our case, it is the opposite:

“Weariness caused by the journey”, here, refers to a virtue and elevation (מעלה ועלי׳) in the Yidden’s condition. Moreover, one could possibly say that that it is even higher than the later aspects of preparations, of the following days.

To preface:

One cannot compare, the great distance between Moshe Rabbeinu and the simplest of Yisroel. Yet  here, it states that “Yisroel encamped there”, meaning that all Yidden (from Moshe Rabbeinu to the simplest of the simple) were united with complete unity (with one heart). Moreover, it is simple that this was not, G-d forbid in a manner of a rote action (the commandment of men, learned by rote), but rather with a sincere and truthful unity.

Therefore, it is understood that by Yidden, there is a 'seminal point' of the heart (נקודה שבלב) which equates them (“as one man with one heart”) – the greatest of the great with the simplest of the simple. In this, the innovation of “and Yisroel encamped there opposite the mountain” is expressed.

Standing “opposite the mountain”, to “receive the Torah from Sinai”, this seminal point of the heart, which equates all of them as one, was revealed. This expresses the main preparation to receiving the Torah.

5. The explanation of this is:

It has been spoken of many times concerning the innovation by (and of) Matan Torah.

For seemingly, Torah study also existed in the previous generations before Matan Torah. For example, the yeshiva of Shem and Ever, the Patriarchs that learned the entire Torah even before it was given, and similarly their descendants after them (before Matan Torah). So much so that it states that, “yeshiva (Torah study) never ceased from our forefathers in Egypt (לא פסקה ישיבה מאבותינו במצרים). Therefore, what was the innovation of Matan Torah?

It is explained that the innovation resides in that which, at that time, it was the giving of Torah, as it states, “He gave us His Torah”. It was given from the Giver of Torah (G-d).

Before Matan Torah, one “took” (גענומען) Torah with, and according to, one’s own ability (intellect and Bitul).

However, at Matan Torah, G-d gave the Torah commensurate with the power of His giving. At Matan Torah there occurred “G-d spoke all these words, to respond” (וידבר אלקים את בל הדברים האלה לאמר). The word “saying” (לאמר) means the “speaking of G-d” (and similarly subsequently, Moshe Rabbeinu on the mountain learned the entire Torah from the mouth of Al-Mighty and he gave it etc.)

This was not a singular thing (איינמאליקע זאך), but rather at the giving of the Torah, G-d, as it were, “gave” (אריינגעגעבן) Himself into the Torah (like the well-known statement of the Sages that the first word of the Ten Commandments, “Anochi” is an acronym “Ana nafshi kasavis yahavis” (I have imbued My soul, in the words)”. Therefore, when a Yid learns Torah, wherever and whenever – it must be with the prefatory words and blessing, “He gave us His Torah” (נתן לנו את תורתו). (as it states) “You are taking Me” (אותי אתם לוקחים).

This is the innovation of “You have revealed etc.” of Matan Torah.  There was not just an addition and elevation with regard to before Matan Torah. Rather it accomplished an innovation which entirely incomparable:

Before Matan Torah, when Torah study was with one’s own abilities, the power of intellect etc., it is understood that one took from Torah, only as much as the person learning it was able to comprehend of G-d’s Wisdom. However, after Matan Torah, Torah study was in a manner, that one connects oneself, through Torah, with the Giver of the Torah itself, who alone, gave Himself into His Torah.

6. This is connected with “and Yisroel encamped there” - as one man with one heart.

The differences in Torah study between one Yid and another (so much so, until the greatest difference – the Torah study of Moshe Rabbeinu compared to the Torah study of the simplest person) are with regard to the understanding of Torah. For each Yid possesses, due to the powers of his soul, a greater and higher understanding and comprehension in Torah, than that of another Yid. So much so that there can be an incomparable difference.

However, in the aspect of a Yid binding himself (to G-d) through Torah study – he is completely one with the Giver of the Torah. This is manifested equally with the greatest of the great and the smallest of the small.

The “you are taking Me” is the same, whether it is with regard to a person who learns Chumash/Mikra

(even if he does not understand what he learns – he must still preface, as aforementioned, (the blessing) “and gave us His Torah)

or whether it is with regard to a great scholar who has a deep understanding and comprehension in Torah and creates true innovations in Torah-  it is the same “Me” (G-d).

This quality of “You are taking Me” (is not prepared through one’s own power, but rather) comes from Above, for “He gave us His Torah”.

This aspect is connected with the heart of a Yid. For in (Pnimiyut and the seminal point of) the heart of a Yid, there is illuminated the Essence (Yechidah) of the soul, which is completely higher than one's understanding, reason and comprehension (For in this point, the faith of each Yid in G-d, is above reason and comprehension).

This is what is meant by “and Yisroel encamped there”– as one man with one heart.

Approaching “opposite the mountain”, where there had to be the event of Har Sinai (מעמד הר סיני) – Matan Torah – this evoked within the Yidden the revelation of their Pnimiyut and the essence of the heart, which is equal among all Yidden. This revelation of the essence of the heart transformed them into a receptacle to the G-dliness of Torah – to the  aspect of  “G-d spoke all these words” until the word “saying” (לאמר)”.

(Note: The word "saying" (“leimor") generally means that the message is to be conveyed. At Matan Torah, however, everyone heard G‑d say the Ten Commandments. It cannot even be understood as the obligation to transmit the Torah to later generations, for the souls of every Jew were present at the giving of the Torah. 

Rabbi Akiva and Rabbi Ishmael explain that the word "saying" in this verse indicates that the Jews responded to each of the Ten Commandments.

The Maggid of Mezritch states that “leimor" means that the commandments should be implemented within (speak to you ) and have an effect upon His "saying" (i.e. the physical world created through the ten decrees). Even when there is no one else to transmit the Torah to, further transmission is still required. Torah study is not enough one must ensure that it permeates every aspect of his life.

The Alter Rebbe states that the term leimor is “to speak,” (i.e., we are charged with) saying the entire Torah that was given to Moshe at Sinai. (This includes) all of Scripture, Mishnah, Halachot. For this reason, the Torah was given to the Jewish people so that the Halachot that they articulate will actually be “the word of G‑d” that was given to Moshe at Sinai. By receiving the Torah, (the Jews were given the potential) “to say what was said,” (i.e., to reveal G‑d’s word. To accomplish this requires Bitul. A person’s speech should not be separate (from G‑d’s), as if it is his own. Instead, (He should realize that) the Torah is “Your sayings,” but “my tongue” will recite them, like one repeating the words that another person says.Thus when a person speaks words of Torah, he is not speaking ordinary words. They are “the words of G‑d.”


http://www.sie.org/templates/sie/article_cdo/aid/2852036/jewish/Section-II.htm )

7. However, this preparation of “and Yisroel encamped there . . with one heart” is just the first level in the preparation to Matan Torah. Through the wondrous quality (מעלה נפלאה) of Bitul and unity, one becomes a receptacle to Torah. However, the purpose of Torah is, that one should study it (זי לערנען), with understanding and intellect. Therefore, in conjunction with this, there must be an entire order of preparations to Matan Torah.

The intent of Matan Torah is, that the person should unite with Torah. So much so, that this becomes his vitality and being. Therefore, Torah must (also) be taken through study, intellect and the understanding of the concept. When one understands an aspect in intellect, then the concept is grasped in the intellect of the person, so much so that it becomes (a part of) his being (similar to the nourishment of bread which becomes his flesh and blood of his flesh).

In the words of Tanya – it becomes a “most wonderful unity” (יחוד נפלא) between and from the “intellect that perceives” (משכיל) with the concept (מושכל).

Thus, it comes out that, through understanding of Torah, a Yid incorporates and becomes united with the “word of G-d” (which is completely higher than the world).

These were the two types of preparation of the Yidden to receiving the Torah:

The first preparation to Matan Torah is, as aforementioned – “and Yisroel encamped there” - ”as one man with one heart". This  represents the epitome of Bitul, which effects that all Yidden should be “as one man with one heart” – the general preparation of Klal Yisroel as one.

However, from the second of Sivan, “Moshe began to deal with them in the aspect of receiving the Torah”. This refers to the aspects of preparation which effect that the being of the person (not just due to essence of the Pnimiyut of the heart (יחידה שבפנימיות הלב)) should be fitting and deserving and a proper receptacle to receiving the Torah as it states “And you shall be to Me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation”, the Mitzvot of Hagbala (setting boundaries around Mount Sinai) and Perisha (husbands and wives separating from one another) etc. These made the Yidden holy etc.

Moreover, in these preparations, there were differences among Yidden, each one according to his level in Avodat HaShem (so much so that we find that at the receiving the Torah itself, there were differences among Yidden: Moshe had a barrier for himself etc.  However, for all of them, their “souls departed”. And this was “at each utterance” of the Ten Commandments).

This is why the Talmud states, “he (Moshe) did not say anything due to the weariness caused by the journey”. The journey refers to the spiritual “journey”,  It is in order that all Yidden (from Moshe Rabbeinu until the simplest of the simple of Yisroel) should unite and bind themselves with “weariness” (חולשא) (in a positive sense). A weariness and Bitul in Yidden. And in conjunction with this “He did not say to them, anything”. For this preparation is not connected with speech, but rather this an aspect of “not speaking” (לא אמר) – silence and Bitul.

After one prepared the Bitul (due to all the Yidden being “as one man with one heart”) – it demanded that Yidden should draw down (אראפטראגן) from the complete Bitul (ביטול עצום) and deal with the other aspects of preparation. For specifically through this, is the purpose of Torah conveyed – the “wonderful unity” together with “Me”, “You are taking Me”.

MSichas Shabbat Parshat Bamidbar 5743

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