Parashat BaMidbar and Shavuot- If You Think The Torah is a Story Book, You Better Take Another Look
1. HaShem spoke to Moshe in the Sinai Desert, in the Tent of Meeting on the first day of the second month, in the second year after the exodus from the land of Egypt, saying.
א. וַיְדַבֵּר ה' אֶל מֹשֶׁה בְּמִדְבַּר סִינַי בְּאֹהֶל מוֹעֵד בְּאֶחָד לַחֹדֶשׁ הַשֵּׁנִי בַּשָּׁנָה הַשֵּׁנִית לְצֵאתָם מֵאֶרֶץ מִצְרַיִם לֵאמֹר:
Think about the person you love most. Don’t you just want to know everything about them? Don’t you want to know how you can get to know them better? To bond with them closer? To spend every second with them?
In this entire world, who do we love most? HaKadosh Barukh Hu! But we can’t see Him, we can’t feel Him or hear Him….how could He expect us to know Him, let alone to love Him?
There is a story of a King and his Wife who have been writing love letters to each other back and forth. When the king discovers that his beloved wife has been unfaithful to him, he sends her away. After many years, he begins to miss her and decides to forgive her. To his surprise, when he calls her back, he finds her sitting there still waiting for him. He asks her, ‘My Beloved! How were you able to wait for me for all these years?’ She answers ‘Your love letters. I read them to myself everyday and realized how much you really love me. It helped me get through all this time.’
The Torah is HaShem’s love letter to us. He asks us ‘Eikh hentamtem li kol ha’Shanim?’ How did you wait for Me all these years? And we answer to HaShem, your love letter, your Torah got us through all these years!
Without the Torah HaKedoshah we would be completely lost.
The Torah serves us two main purposes: to become familiar with the missvot in order that we can do them and elevate ourselves, and it also is the main conduit through which we can know HaShem and become closer to Him. The deeper we study Torah, not only do we become proficient in knowledge and halakhot, but the closer we become to the Being that we love most in the entire world!
Haz”al tell us that Shavuot is considered to be a wedding between HaShem and Benei Yisrael. HaKadosh Barukh Hu is the groom, we are the bride, and the Torah HaKedosha is our Ketubah. Shavuot has no Sukkah and no Massah. So what are we supposed to bind to in order to feel the hag? HaShem himself! In order to do that, we must become familiar with His ‘instruction manual’, the Torah, to understand how He really works. We must understand that learning Torah isn’t the main goal we try to reach, it is only the means of acquiring our goal: to become closer to our hatan, our groom, HaKadosh Barukh Hu Himself! A zoug, a couple, doesn’t bind to the Ketubah in a marriage, they bind to eachother! The Ketubah is just a legal document. Likewise, we don’t just bind to the Torah, we bind directly to HaShem Himself.
The first word of the Aseret HaDibrot, the Ten Commandments, is Anokhi. The Talmud (Shabbat 105a) says that this is an acrostic that stands for Ana Nafshi Katvit Yahavit, which means ‘I have written myself into this book that I am giving you.’ HaShem is giving us the answer, RIGHT HERE! You want to become closer to Me? You want to find Me? Look for Me in this Sefer that I am giving you! I’m right inside!
This is why the event at Har Sinai is called Matan Torah, the GIVING of the Torah, and not Kabbalat HaTorah, the ACCEPTING of the Torah. HaKadosh Barukh Hhu gave us the Torah. It doesn’t mean everybody accepts it. It is in our hand to do the accepting. Every Year.
We accept the Torah over and over again every year. It is not something that happens automatically. It is something we must do ourselves. We are almost like converts that take the Torah upon ourselves by choice.
This is why we read Megillat Rut on Shavuot. Rut was born into the nation of Moav, she wasn’t born into Benei Yisrael. She marries the son of Naomi, a Jew. When she sees the beauty and Emet of the Torah, she tells Naomi that she is ready to give up her life as a wealthy princess in Moav (during a time of a powerful famine) and to convert, staying with Naomi who was reduced to poverty over the years.
When Naomi tries to discourage her, look what Rut says
וַתֹּאמֶר רוּת אַל־תִּפְגְּעִי־בִי, לְעָזְבֵךְ לָשׁוּב מֵאַחֲרָיִךְ; כִּי אֶל־אֲשֶׁר תֵּלְכִי אֵלֵךְ, וּבַאֲשֶׁר תָּלִינִי אָלִין, עַמֵּךְ עַמִּי, וֵאלֹהַיִךְ אֱלֹהָי׃
בַּאֲשֶׁר תָּמוּתִי אָמוּת, וְשָׁם אֶקָּבֵר; כֹּה יַעֲשֶׂה ה' לִי וְכֹה יֹסִיף, כִּי הַמָּוֶת, יַפְרִיד בֵּינִי וּבֵינֵךְ׃
But Ruth said, 'Do not urge me to leave you, to turn back from following you. For where you go, I will go; where you sleep, I will sleep; your people are my people, and your G-d my G-d; where you die I will die, and there I will be buried. Thus may G-d do to me, and so may He do more, if anything but death separates me from you. (Rut 1:16-17)
The first time I read this I really had tears in my eyes. If a goya from the lowest nation in the world, who is not even allowed to enter Kelal Yisrael realizes how important HaKdosh Barukh Hu is, is so committed to the Torah, loves HaShem this much, WHY CAN’T WE DO THE SAME?
Rut’s name is comprised of the letters resh, vav, tav, which add up to a numerical value of 606. Every human being in the world, whether or not they are part of Kelal Yisrael, must abide by the Sheva Missvot Benei Noah, the Seven basic Missvot given at the time of Noah for all of humanity (not to steal, not to kill….). If we add those seven commandments to the value of her name, we get 613, the number of Missvot in the Torah.
The essence of Rut was the discovery and acceptance of the 606 Missvot she was missing. If we could learn to emulate Rut in passion, acceptance and commitment to the Torah, we are fitting to receive the Torah just as it was giving on Har Sinai and absorb all the kedusha that the hag has to offer. Every Year.
Be’ezrat HaShem, May it be HaShem’s will and ours, that we develop a heshek, a passion for the Torah and accept it upon ourselves again each and every day on the same level that we once accepted it on Har Sinai. May we understand that the Torah HaKedosha is anything but a simple book; it’s what is the direct connection between us and HaShem; take advantage of it, use it to its maximum. If you want to become close to HaShem, indulge yourself in the teachings of the Torah, there you will find Him. We have been counting for so long since Pesah, the time is finally here! Make the most of it! Enjoy your cheesecake, but realize that there’s so much more to this hag than we realize. Draw as much kedusha from these days as possible and harvest it for the rest of this year until next Shavuot, where iy’’H we will celebrate Shavuot in the Beit HaMikdash, Amen!
!!!!חג שבועות שמח ושבת שלום ומברוך