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Beit Midrash Torah Portion and Tanach Tetzave

acceptance of Torah out of joy

We are generaly accustomed to think that Israel's acceptance of the Torah was a one-time event that took place on the sixth of Sivan. In reality, however, the people of Israel accepted the Torah no less than three times
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We are generaly accustomed to think that Israel's acceptance of the Torah was a one-time event that took place on the sixth of Sivan. In reality, however, the people of Israel accepted the Torah no less than three times. After the sin of the golden calf, when Moshe Rabbenu smashed the tablets, Moshe received a second set on Yom Kipppur. And, according to Chazal, the people of Israel accepted the Torah on yet another occasion - on Purim. They base themselves on the words in the megilla, "Kiyemu ve-kibelu ha-Yehudim" - kiyemu ma she-kibelu kvar - they accepted once again what they had already received.


Why was there a need for another acceptance? What was missing before? Chazal answer that the earlier acceptance of Torah was coerced - "kafa aleihem har ke-gigit," G-d held the mountain over their heads and said that if they don't accept the Torah they will be buried under the mountain. Since their acceptance of the Torah at Sinai was forced upon them, they had to accept it once again of their own free will.


What did the acceptance of Torah on Purim add to our religious experience? It added the element of joy. We perform mitzvot and study Torah not only because we have to do so. We engage in Torah because it is a pleasure, because it is a joy, because it uplifts our lives and elevates our souls. Because being near to God is pure good. And when one accepts Torah out of joy and gladness one will keep Torah even when the mountain is not over our heads.


What is true regarding Torah is also true about Eretz Israel. One can come to Eretz Israel beacuse one is compelled to leave galut. One can, however, come to live in this beautiful and wonderful land beacuse of the sheer joy of contributing to the rebuilding of our people and our land. This kind of redefinition of the Zionist agenda can help us overcome these difficult days and inject true joy in our decision to come and live here.
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