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As One Man, With One Heart

One of the most beautiful aspects of the life of our forefathers in the desert was their unity.  Six hundred thousand men from the age of twenty and up, plus additional thousands of women and children, lived in tents in a huge encampment, for over forty years.  They traveled together, camped together, ate and drank together--an amazing display of unity and cohesiveness! 

True, over the course of the forty-year sojourn in the desert there were some unpleasant incidents.  But overall, the Jewish People lived together in harmony, with few disruptions to the spirit of brotherliness and cooperation.

The high point of this unity, was the moment of Matan Torah, the giving of the Torah.  On the first of the month of Sivan, five days before the giving of the Torah, the Jewish People arrived and camped at the foot of Mount Sinai.  This was the only time that the encampment of the Jews is referred to in the Torah the singular:  “It camped,” and not “They camped.”  Our sages learn from this that the Jewish People encamped at the foot of Mount Sinai “as one man, with one heart.”  They all shared the same love for the divine, to the point that they considered themselves limbs of one extended body, with one heart beating for all of them.  G-d was so pleased at this display of unity that He said:  “This is the moment in which I will give you the Torah.”

The fact that G-d tied the giving of the Torah to the unity of the people indicates that their unity is not only a nice behavior, but an essential part of accepting the Torah.  Why was it so essential?

The explanation is that the Torah was given in order to reveal the existence of G-d in this world, as the Creator and Master of everything.  Through study of Torah, we reveal how every element of existence reflects its divine Creator, and was created with a specific purpose, to be elevated and refined according to the directives of the Torah. 

This, perhaps, is the answer for why G-d had such special pleasure from the unity of the Jewish People in the desert. The best preparation for revealing the G-dly unity in this world is when we unite with each other, in peace and harmony.  When Jewish People live together like one family, like children of one father, they cause His divine light and unity to shine on their surroundings, on all of creation.

The Jewish People have been keeping the Torah and mitzvot for millennia.  However, we still have not attained that state in which the entire world reflects and reveals G-dliness.  Only when Moshiach comes will the world be so refined that we will be able to see G-dliness shining out of every element of Creation. 

What is clear, however, is that just as unity served as a preparation for the original giving of the Torah, we must strive to attain a similar state of unity to prepare for the ultimate revelation of G-dliness, with the immediate coming of Moshiach.



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