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Parshat Behalotecha

Dear STOCS Friend:


An often-overlooked nuance concerning Mount Sinai is found in Parshat Behalotecha.

וַיִּסְעוּ֙ מֵהַ֣ר ה

And they travelled from the Mountain of Hashem.

The mountain upon which Hashem gave the Jewish people the Torah is known by three names:    

          Mount Sinai

          Mount Horev

          Mountain of Hashem

Rabbi Elie Munk highlights that in the passage quoted above, it is the sole instance where this mountain is referred to as the Mountain of Hashem. The Jewish people were eager to swiftly depart from the mountain to avoid further commandments from Hashem.

This observation is based on a Tosfaot found in Talmud Shabbas 116a, which describes their departure: "And they traveled - they traveled away from Har Sinai for three days like a child who leaves school, he runs away and then he goes away."

Was this reaction indicative of an immature nation, shaped by years of slavery? Did they lack appreciation for Hashem's commandments? Whatever the underlying reasons, we, Klal Yisroel, must always remember that Hashem gave us the mitzvot out of His immense love for the Jewish People, His chosen nation. These commandments serve to connect us to the Creator of all and foster unity among all Jews.

More importantly, instead of fleeing, we should strive to draw closer to Hashem. As Rabbi Shimon Shkopp writes, “through the performance of mitzvot, Hashem implanted eternal life within us, so our greatest aspiration should be to benefit others, both individuals and communities, now and in the future, mirroring the actions of the Creator of the world.

I look forward to seeing you in shul on Shabbas!

Shabbat Shalom


Rabbi Shore


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