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JUMPING THE GUN

by Rabbi Yonason Goldson    
Torah from Dixie Staff Writer    

In the third month after the exodus of the Children of Israel from Egypt, on this day, they came to the wilderness of Sinai. And they traveled from Rafidim and they came to the wilderness of Sinai. . ." (Exodus 19:1-2).

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In the third month after the exodus of the Children of Israel from Egypt, on this day, they came to the wilderness of Sinai. And they traveled from Rafidim and they came to the wilderness of Sinai. . ." (Exodus 19:1-2).

When Adam, the first man, sinned by eating from the Tree of Knowledge, he caused the entire world to instantly devolve from its original state of perfection to one of chaos, in which good and evil are inseparably interwoven. Hashem patiently waited ten generations until the coming of Noah, whom He charged to rectify the damage done by Adam's sin. When Noah, too, failed, Hashem endured ten more generations until the birth of Abraham, the father of the Jewish nation that would ultimately be entrusted with the sacred task of restoring the world to its primordial perfection through its observance of the Torah.

Imagine, then, the magnitude of the moment as the Children of Israel arrived at the foot of Mt. Sinai. Finally, the restoration of the entire plan of creation was at hand. On this account does the verse first record, out of sequence, the arrival of the Jewish people at Sinai before reporting that they left Rafidim, thereby alluding to the tremor of excitement that rippled across the face of the earth. Every stone and tree and manner of beast quavered with anticipation as, after nearly 2500 years of chaos, the Children of Israel stood poised to receive the Torah, with which they would return all of creation to the glory of perfection.

The Torah, as it were, could not hold itself back to follow the mere historical sequence of events, but jumped to the climax for which the world had so long been waiting. So too, we must appreciate the significance of our Torah observance and the profound responsibility with which Hashem has entrusted us.

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The ideas in this D'var Torah were originally expressed by the Ohr Hachaim, the famous Kabbalist and Talmudic scholar of the 18th-century.

Rabbi Yonason Goldson is a teacher at the Yeshiva High School of Atlanta.

You are invited to read more Parshat Yitro articles.

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