The Midrash teaches us that the other nations were offered the Torah however each of them rejected it because they found some of the  commandment to difficult to comply with. [For Ishmael it was the prescription against stealing, for Eisav it was the commandment not to murder]… However when it was our turn we in unison proclaimed: “We will do and then we will hear” – “Naasey vi-nismah”.

Since it wouldn’t be fair for all the nations to have commandments that they found very challenging and we, the Jewish nation, also did not have at least one commandments that was very difficult to accept, therefore, let us ask which mitzvah was a great challenge for us to adhere to? The Cassidishers commentaries (Sefas Emes and Even …) address this provocative question with an insightful response that expresses the greatest praise of our holy nation. The mitzvah of restraint – hagbalah – during the days just proceeding the giving of the Torah (Matan Torah) was a commandment that was very hard for our nation to comply with. Why? Because every Jew had such a great desire to come as close as possible to the loftiest levels of holiness as quick as possible, our willingness to follow the commandment and hold ourselves back during the days of hagbalah showed that we had the ability and willingness to unswervingly accept all the Torah.

Therefore the days of hagbalah were not just days of separation and preparation but they were actually days of inner growth in strengthening our “walls” of faith and acceptance of Hashem’s Torah and its timeline.

 The Catam Sofer in Parsha’s Yisro (19-23) reveals to us a profound thought provoking remez from within the pasuk, referring to the days of hagbalah, which ends “…bound the mountain and sanctify it”, so that no one would come closer than they were permitted. The word mountain in Hebrew is Har (Hai – Raish) with the surrounding letters, in the alphabet, of the Hai being a Dalet and a Vov and the surrounding letters of the Raish being a Kuf and Shin. These surrounding letters combine to spell out the word holy (Kadosh) – Kuf – Dalet – Vov – Shin.

From here we can learn a beautiful thought that all of the – “boundaries” – enactments that our Sages have “put around” the Torah are not there to restrict and limit us but actually serve expand and increase the boundaries of our kiddusha.

Chag samach.


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