NY City Candle lighting
Shabbat ends 6:03
For worldwide times on
the web www.chabadgn.com/Candles
Wednesday is the 22nd of Shevat, the Yahrtzeit of the Rebbetzin
Chaya Mushka Schneerson, the Rebbe's wife of Blessed memory
YITRO: UNITY AND COMPLETENESS
Shalom and Bracha!
This Shabbat is the pinnacle of the Torah
to this point. We studied the creation, the forefathers, the
exile and the Exodus. This week we read the portion of Yitro,
the giving of the Ten Commandments and the Torah on Mount Sinai,
the goal of all that we have learned before. In the Shema we say
“These words that I command you today shall be upon your heart.”
The Talmud explains that every day we should feel like the Torah
was given that day. This is echoed in the blessing that we make
upon learning Torah, Baruch… Notain Hatorah. (Blessed are You…
who gives the Torah). The word Notain is in the present, which
teaches us that we must experience the study of Torah as though
we were receiving the Torah that moment on Mount Sinai. As we
look more deeply into the lessons of this week’s portion, we can
relive the giving of the Torah in a more meaningful manner.
The Ten Commandments begin “I am Hashem your G-d who has
brought you out from Egypt” and conclude with the prohibition of
coveting your neighbor’s property. Generally, the beginning and
end have an intense connection. What is the continual thread
When Hashem informed us I am Hashem your G-d, he wasn’t
informing us that He exists. He told each of us in the singular
tense that He is our G-d. That means He is our provider, guide
and mentor. We have what we have because G-d gave it to us.
Others have what they have because G-d gave it to them. We don’t
always know why he does what He does, but when dealing with
Hashem, that comes with the territory. Often, what we perceive
as someone’s blessings is no blessing at all. Wealth ruins many
lives, as do other objects of envy. Only Hashem knows what we
can handle and what we deserve. If someone else has something,
he is supposed to have it at this time. This is the true meaning
of knowing that Hashem is our G-d.
The section describing the giving of the Torah begins “In
the third month of the Exodus… they came to the wilderness of
Sinai… and he camped opposite the mountain.” Throughout the
forty years in the desert, every encampment is described in the
plural except for this one. The Midrash explains that when
Hashem saw the unity among the Jewish people in their desire to
receive the Torah, He declared that the time had arrived.
Unity is central to Torah. The portion tells us that the
Torah was given in the third month of the Exodus, after three
days of preparation. This is because the number three represents
unity. One represents uniqueness, two introduces conflict and
three represents the power to combine and unite. The Torah
serves as the bond between the Infinite Creator and the finite
world. The Talmud tells us that the Torah was only given to
bring peace into the world. In order to receive the Torah whose
very essence is peace and unity, there had to be pristine unity
amongst the Jewish people.
This unity is expressed in all of the three pillars of
service of Hashem: Torah, prayer and acts of kindness.
The Ten Commandments contain five commandments between man and
G-d and five commandments between man and his fellow man. Our
service of Hashem must lead to our betterment as a person, and
the way we that treat each other must be directed by the Torah,
not simply by good intention. Thus, the Torah unites the mundane
and the sacred. When we study the Torah we subjugate ourselves
fully to the will of Hashem, but we seek to understand the Torah
in our intellect. Thus the Torah unites the human and divine
The Ari Zal (a pillar of Kabbalah) taught that before
praying, a person must say “I hereby accept upon myself to
fulfill the Mitzvah of love your fellow man as yourself. Prayers
are said n the plural because Hashem blesses us as a people.
Prayer itself is not simply beseeching Hashem for our needs, but
bonding with Hashem. The word Tefillah (prayer) comes from the
Hebrew root of Tofel (to combine). When we are united, we can
bond with Hashem. Through bonding with Hashem, our needs become
Acts of kindness are done in their truest sense when we feel
that the needs of the other party are our needs.
Semak (a famous codifier) explains that the first Commandment
includes the faith in Moshiach. When the Torah says “I am Hashem
your G-d who took you out of Egypt,” it is a commandment to
believe in G-d and that he will redeem us from every exile.
Division caused the destruction of the Temple. The Rebbe has
informed us that Moshiach is ready to come and is only awaiting
an increase in acts of good and kindness. May we merit his
coming immediately and the new depths in Torah that he will
Dedicated in memory of Rachamim Ben Nissan Nobandegani. May his
soul be bound in the eternal bond of life with Hashem and may
Hashem grant only Simcha to his family
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