Parshas Yisro - Mission Possible

By Rabbi Zvi Teichman

Posted on 01/24/19

Parshas HaShavua Divrei Torah sponsored by
Dr. Shapsy Tajerstein, DPM - Podiatry Care.
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Greetings from Yerushalayim Ir HaKodesh!

This past week I have experienced Aliyah L’Regel and Mattan Torah all wrapped in one.

Over five hundred individuals converged upon this holy city to attend the Agudath Israel of America’s 19th Yarchei Kallah.

This remarkable group suspended their lives, many of them leaving their families and businesses behind, in devoting themselves to a four day total immersion in Torah. There was a three seder day packed with chavrusah learning, interspersed with the most amazing shiurim, given by giants of Torah scholarship and devotion.

The marathon of learning was reminiscent of Shavuos night, with the difference being that this lasted four consecutive days. With jet lag added to the intense schedule, it was a truly awesome sight seeing everyone overcome their fatigue in maintaining their pace to the finale.

What secret elixir fueled this great accomplishment?

The renowned scholar, author, chossid and darshan, Reb Pinchas Friedman, posed a fascinating question.

The verse retells how, they stood at the bottom of the mountain… and the entire Mount Sinai smoked… Shouldn’t the verse have first identified the mountain as Mount Sinai and then later refer to it as the mountain? He quoted a Yalkut Reuveini who asserts that ‘the’ mountain here refers to ‘the’ Mount of Moriah where the Akeidah took place. Evidently Hashem placed ‘the’ mountain where the sacrifice of Yitzchok took place above Mount Sinai, and both mountains hovered over them as they accepted the Torah.

What significance was there to this double presence?

Another outstanding presenter was the ebullient and brilliant teacher of Torah, Rav Nissan Kaplan.

He posed another interesting dilemma.

After the giving of the Torah, Yisro observes the difficulty the people are having in the administering of justice to the vast number of people. He suggests, and merits its implementation, of a hierarchical judicial system that enables dispensation of justice efficiently.

He wondered how it came to be that the greatest mechanech/pedagogue of all time couldn’t figure this out on his own.

In Devarim, Moshe reviews many of the events that took place in the course of their forty year sojourn.  

After detailing this system he recalls how they ‘answered me and said, 'The thing you have spoken is good for us to do.'  

Rashi, quoting the Sifrei, explains that Moshe was intimating admonition: ‘You, decided the matter for your benefit. You should have replied, “Our teacher Moshe! From whom is it proper to learn, from you or from your disciple? Is it not better to learn from you, who have taken such pains about them?”

He asked, in what way would that beautiful sentiment resolve the reality of the difficulty of teaching the laws to so many?

He answered that evidently when you want something so desperately one can overcome the greatest of challenges!

The Akeidah wasn’t just a demonstration of mesiras nefesh, supernal self-sacrifice, but more so the determination to fulfill Hashem’s will despite the seeming impossible request to overcome the powerful human emotion of love that Avrohom  as a father  had for his son  Yitzchok.

But when the will is there we can overcome the impossible.

The acceptance of Torah and all its difficult challenges and nisyonos, is predicated on the lesson of the Akeidah. If we will it, we can conquer. It was thus necessary to have Mount Moriah and its message present as they undertook what might have otherwise seemed a mission impossible.

Avrohom appealed to Hashem that the sacrifice of the ram in Yitzchok’s stead should be deemed as if he had offered his beloved son. Hashem consented and once again deemed the impossible into ‘reality’.

There were two horns preserved from that ram. One that blew at Sinai, and one preserved to herald the coming of Moshiach.

We will merit his coming when we exhibit this same determination in our quest to perform His wiil.

The echoes of that calling rang through these four marvelous days. It was that drive to hear the word of Hashem that still resounds as it did on the day it was given, that empowered this crowd to overcome and succeed so remarkably.

While lodging in the hotel I met a very intriguing individual, a fellow with long hair, a seventh generation Yerushalmi who grew up in America, who was there with his beautiful family of spirited kids. He retold many a story of his personal relationship he had with Rav Kanievsky, Rav Steinman , Reb Simcha Wasserman, Reb Dovid Abuchatzera and other illustrious Gedolim. He was going on with many a fascinating tale and hen made a passing reference to a comment  Rav Kanievsky said to someone recently about not  making a certain critical decision because Mashiach is coming before the bechirot, the Israeli elections in April. With a bit of skepticism I rolled my eyes.

A few moments later I go out of the Shabbos elevator and see an elderly man sitting between the banks of elevators and tell him to hurry on before it closes. He says, לא לא אני לא עולה רק מחכה, “No, No, I am not going on, just waiting.” I jokingly comment, גם אני מחכה למשיח, “I too am waiting for Moshiach.” Without batting an eyelash, he says to me, כבר לא צריכים לחכות הרב קנייבסקי כבר הבטיח שהוא מגיע לפני הבחירות, “There is no need to wait any longer, Rav Kanievsky has already assured he is coming before the elections!!!

Hopefully the second shofar is about to be blown. But it will only come if we make בחירות, meaningful ‘choices’ that represent our desire to go all out in fulfilling His will even when it seems the odds are against us.

May we all be inspired to accomplishments in our avodas Hashem so that we may merit soon to see the coming of Moshiach and our return to Tziyon!

באהבה מירושלים עיר הקודש,

צבי יהודה טייכמאן