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Thursday, September 28, 2023 - 13 Tishrei 5784
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The Day the World Stood Still

The Torah portion of Yitro describes in detail the preparations made by the Jewish People for receiving the Torah. They had undergone a brief “cooling off” period after their enslavement from Egypt, and spent seven weeks of intense spiritual preparation to be fit vessels to receive the Torah. Moses, the leader of the Jewish People, transmitted G-d’s directives for how to prepare for this lofty moment, in which the Jewish People would receive the gift of G-d that contained the secret of creation: The holy Torah.

With the Jewish People aflame with anticipation and awash in preparations, they received an unexpected visitor: Yitro, the father-in-law of Moses. From his home in Midian, he had heard about G-d’s miracles in Egypt, by the sea and in the desert. Yitro had served as a priest for all the idols of Midian. However, after hearing of the wonders of the Jewish G-d, he recognized the greatness of the true G-d and proclaimed: “Now I know that G-d is greater than all other gods.”

Every word and letter in the Torah is both precise and concise. There is a reason why the Torah devotes an entire section to describing the visit of Yitro to the desert. The miracles in Egypt brought the entire world to recognize the greatness of G-d and the Jewish nation. Yitro’s acknowledgement of G-d’s power represented an important step in preparing the world for the giving of the Torah. Once Yitro arrived, as a representative of the nations of the world, to proclaim the greatness of G-d, the world was deemed ready to receive the Torah.

The giving of the Torah on Mount Sinai was a seminal event that left a permanent impact on the Jewish People as well as on world history. Every Jewish soul, past, present, and future, stood at the foot of Mount Sinai and swore to uphold its loyalty to G-d, and to accept His precepts as a way of life. This event had no parallel in world history. For the moment, the world stood still to hear the voice of G-d communicating with His people.

After two thousand years of exile, during which the Jewish People wandered amongst the nations, we are ready to leave the spiritual desert and receive the Torah all over again, with the true and complete Redemption. First, each of us must undergo a personal redemption, to release ourselves from our spiritual constraints and limitations. Then we will be ready to receive the Torah of Moshiach. This will be an event similar to the giving of the Torah. The Torah itself will not change, but we will receive a deeper understanding and interpretation of its contents. 

Just as the Jews prepared for the giving of the Torah, we must prepare for the revelation of the Torah of Moshiach. Our Torah study and mitzvah observance during exile are a true preparation for the time of Moshiach. When we take upon ourselves good resolutions to add in the fulfillment of Torah and mitzvot, we hasten the revelation of the Torah of Moshiach.



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