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Parts of one Whole


The Torah had to be received by the whole Jewish nation. And it was.

When the people arrived at Mount Sinai in preparation for accepting their mission, the verse changes the syntax, and uses a singular form instead of plural. "And he camped opposite the montain" Rashi, the great commentator, concisely describes the incongruity of the grammar: "Like one person with one heart." The entire Jewish nation could aptly be described in the singular because essentially they were so connected, that they were operating as one unified whole. Our sages explain that the same way a person would never injure his own hand for doing something that he didn't agree with, a Jew should never injure another, as he is essentially part of the same whole. This concept of unity is challenging- the idea that we need to feel so much connected to another person, that we feel deeply part of their world.

Rabbi Shlomo Zalman Auerbach, a great Torah scholar in Israel in the latter part of the last century once vistied the doctor with his wife. When asked what was wrong, he answered: "Our foot is hurting." His relationship with her was so deep and connected, that her pain was his and she was a part of the way he described himself.

This was the level of the Jewish people at mount Sinai. And this is why on Passover night, when we thank G-d for every step of the process of becoming the Jewish nation, we enumerate our arrival at Mount Sinai. "Had you brought us to Mount Sinai, but not given us the Torah, it would have been enough." The experience of ultimate unity of feeling part of one whole to such a degree that we were described in the singular form, is an experience that served as a model for the rest of history and for that we owe our grattitude.

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