Photo of Rabbi Ettedgui

Parashat Yitro - 5775

My friends,

Many countries who have gone through revolutions against tyrants and/or foreign occupiers have yet to find peace and a stable system of government, now that the old rulers are gone. They are still struggling. Witness the chaos in many African and Middle Eastern countries.

Last Shabbat, we read about the Crossing of the Red Sea, and how the Israelites were finally freed from their Egyptian masters. How was Moses able to unite the various tribes into a law-abiding, new nation?

The answer is found in this week's Parasha. Less than three months after leaving Egypt, Moses leads the Children of Israel to Mount Sinai where they will be given the Ten Commandments, rules by which they will live. It is not an easy task. It is a forty-year process that will eventually unite the people into one nation under G-d and His appointed leader. Yes, there will be grumbling, discontent and much murmuring, but there will be no civil war or new revolutions against Moses' leadership.

The event at Mount Sinai is known as "Matan Torah", the Giving of the Torah, rather than "Kabbalat Torah", the Receiving of the Torah. The explanation given is that Revelation, the event at Mount Sinai, only happened once - that's "Matan Torah", the Giving of the Torah. Receiving the Torah, however - studying it, understanding it, accepting it into our lives - is a continuous process from day to day, from generation to generation, at all times.

Be ready to listen to the Ten Commandments as they are chanted with a special melody at all congregations this Shabbat. Be ready to open your heart and your mind to accept the Torah, to study it and incorporate it into your life. Relive the Moment! Relive the Acceptance of Torah!

Shabbat Shalom,