FedTalks Transcript Parshas Yisro
There are three fascinating pesukim in this week’s sedra. They are the manifesto, the platform, the sales pitch, if you like, the basis upon which Torah is offered to us, the Jewish people, and the script is tight and sharp, it’s precise. Hakodosh Boruch Hu writes the script himself and He even tells Moshe to resist the temptation to embellish, to improve upon the script, and he must remain faithful to this script.
“Eileh hadevorim” – these are the words you must tell them, “lo pachos v’lo yoser”, don’t add a word and don’t detract a word.
In other words, before we are to accept Torah, we need to be clear: on what basis are we being offered the Torah?
Interesting to note, not a word is said about the fact that Torah is the ultimate truth and it is the only way to live our lives and it is the tachlis and the purpose for which the world was created, that is glaring in its absence.
Instead, we find the following, the following three pesukim. Says Hashem, “atem re’isem asher ossisi l’Mitzrayim”, you have personally experienced and observed that which I did to the Egyptians for punishing you, “vo’eso eschem al kanfei nesharim”, and I lifted you up on wings of eagles, “v’ovi eschem eloi”, and I brought you to me, “v’ato im shomo’a tishme’u b’koli”, and if you will but hearken and listen to my voice, “ushemartem es brisi”, and guard my Covenant, “v’heyisem li seguloh mikol ho’amim”, you will be my personal treasure, “ki li kol ho’oretz, I could have chosen anyone. And you will then be for me, “mamleches kohanim v’goy kodosh”, a kingdom of priests and a holy nation.
You will have an ambassadorial role. You will be my representatives here on earth, under my treasure, my special people, the platform upon which we are offered Torah. Fascinatingly, it’s not one of emes though, undoubtedly it is toras emes, but it is one of sheer, unadulterated love, because I love you because I cherish you and you will be my segulah, my special people and I’ve demonstrated this in the way I punished Mitzrayim. And I lifted you up on wings of eagles and you’ll become exalted and dignified, and noble and special and my treasure.
That is the platform upon which we are offered Torah and that is the platform, therefore upon which we too, should receive it and indeed, when a man gets an aliyoh, he approaches the sefer Torah and what does he say? He says these very words, these very sentiments – “asher bochar bonu mikol hoamim v’nosan lonu es Toroso.” You chose us out of all the nations and you gave us, your precious holy Torah. Once we’ve had the aliyoh, we’ve had an interaction with it, with emes, then afterwards we say, “asher lonu toras emes, but as we approach the sefer Torah, it is the sense of feeling special, feeling cherished, of feeling loved, and our brochos both in the morning before Shema, and in the evening reflect this.
“Ahavas Olom Beis Yisroel Amcho ohavto,” Ribono Shel Olom, Your love for us is an enduring and an eternal one, and how do we know? What is the manifestation of that “Torah umitzvos, chukim umishpotim, osonu limadeto…”. The Torah and your act of giving us the privilege, the honour of interacting with your Torah is the ultimate demonstration of your love and your commitment to us. What an amazing way to approach Torah.