VOLUME 94 NUMBER 4
February 5, 2021
SHEVAT 23, 5780
Candlelighting Time 5:07 PM
ON EAGLES’ WINGS
There were many preliminary events and cautionary measures that led up to the giving of the Torah on Mt. Sinai. One of the preludes was Hashem’s statement that the nation witnessed all the miracles that were performed destroying the treacherous Egyptian empire and then, at a moment’s notice, the entire nation was whisked out of Egypt into freedom. All the other preparations seem to relate specifically to receiving the Torah while this particular provision is a non-sequitur.
Malbim explains that Hashem was pointing out to the people that despite the fact that they had sunk to the lowest levels of impurity during their subjugation under the Egyptians, Hashem had miraculously elevated them to great heights paralleling the soaring of eagles to the edge of the sky. They were no longer idol worshippers as they had previously been, but rather ascending the ladder of greatness and magnificence in their pursuit of preeminence! Their rocket-like upsurge to eminence displayed not only Hashem’s tremendous love for His children, but additionally, that now we were under his total dominance, that Hashem would care for us as a father, there would be no barriers that would intrude upon our relationship with Hashem.
K’sav V’Kabalah understands the allusion to the eagle as a metaphor that we merited herculean efforts such as the splitting of the sea and manna demonstrating our new-found existence would no longer constrain us to the inadequacies of the physical. Rather, our novel divine plateau would offer us untold and unimaginable capacity to access opportunities that no other nation was aware of.
Netziv adds that our ascension was of such magnitude that we were now capable of divining, comprehending the deepest and most elusive secrets that Hashem imparts only to those who are special and closest to Him. In a matter of only a few days, our rich legacy bequeathed from the Patriarchs began to pulsate within us. Our entire mindset was altered and completely modified to accommodate a nation that had drastically changed its course and was now chartered for ongoing excellence.
All of these mindboggling transformations led to a startling event unparalleled in the history of mankind or of our nation. The Aramaic translation of Yonasan ben Uziel relates that Hashem transported the entire nation at this juncture to Jerusalem and the site of the Beis Hamikdash where we offered the Passover sacrifice. Subsequently we were brought back to the desert to prepare for our acceptance of the Torah. This particular offering has an especial significance because it expresses our innate desire to liberate ourselves from the burdens of life that seek to encumber our ability to serve Hashem with total and unbridled devotion and commitment.
It was with this background and foundation that we approached Mt. Sinai bursting with expectations and ambitions to realize our purpose in this world and prepare ourselves to constantly forge even more exalted and nobler paths in our lives.
A BYTE FOR SHABBOS
The angels argued when Moshe ascended to Heaven that he should not be present. Even though Hashem testified to his stature, nonetheless, they could not perceive that a physical being could truly observe the Torah properly. Eventually, Moshe convinced them that indeed it was appropriate to allow him to receive and transmit the Torah to the people. CHOFETZ CHAIM