Please enable JavaScript in your browser to experience all the custom features of our site.

RabbiHorowitz.com

Mr. Harry Skydell, Chairman
Mr. Mark Karasick, Vice Chairman
Rabbi Yakov Horowitz, Director
Rabbi Avrohom M. Gluck, Director of Operations
The first 1000 members will have a chance to win a
16 GB
iPod
touch
with Rabbi Horowitz audio

Membership Benefits:

  • Save articles to your favorites folder.
  • Save and print selected articles in a PDF journal.
  • Receive emails containing the latest comments on your favorite articles.
  • Mark articles as "READ".
  • More member features coming soon...

Raffle Rules:

NO PURCHASE NECESSARY. To enter, complete the signup form and join as a member. Incomplete entries will be disqualified. All entries shall become the property of CJFL. CJFL is not responsible for lost, misdirected or delayed entries.

The contest is open to the general public. Members need to be at least 18 years old. Identification must be produced on request. Employees of CJFL, its raffle sponsor, advertising and promotional agencies and their respective affiliates and associates and such employees' immediate family members and persons with whom such employees are domiciled are excluded from this raffle. ALL PREVIOUSLY REGISTERED MEMBERS WILL BE AUTOMATICALLY ENTERED INTO THIS RAFFLE. The prize is not redeemable in cash and must be accepted as awarded. Decisions of the raffle judges are final - no substitutions will be available. By claiming the prize, the winner authorizes the use, without additional compensation of his or her name and/or likeness (first initial and last name) and municipality of residence for promotion and/or advertising purposes in any manner and in any medium (including without limitation, radio broadcasts, newspapers and other publications and in television or film releases, slides, videotape, distribution over the internet and picture date storage) which CJFL may deem appropriate. In accepting the prize, the winner, acknowledges that CJFL may not be held liable for any loss, damages or injury associated with accepting or using this prize. CJFL retains the rights, in its absolute and sole discretion, to make substitutions of equivalent kind or approximate value in the event of the unavailability of any prize or component of the prize for any reason whatsoever. This contest is subject to all federal, provincial and municipal laws. CJFL reserves the right to withdraw or terminate this raffle at any time without prior notice. One entry per person.


Rabbi Doniel Staum - Parshas Yisro 5777 "The Covenant"
by Rabbi Doniel Staum, LMSW

Not Rated Yet   |   Viewed 487 times since 2/16/17   |   0 Comments
Decrease Font Size Increase Font Size    [ Change Font Size ] Email This Article to a Friend
   

2/16/17

STAM TORAH

PARSHAS YISRO 5777

THE COVENANT

Phillip is getting older and his health is deteriorating rapidly. He moved out to California to enjoy the comfortable climate as his strength continues to ebb away. When he feels his end is nearing he calls his best friend in New York.

“Irving” he begins.

“Yeah, what’s doing Phil?”

“I need you to come out to California. I don’t have much time left and I have something I must confess before I go.”

So Irving gets on the next flight out and rushes to his friend’s bedside.

“Phillip, I’m here what is it that you needed to tell me?”

“Irv, I just have to admit it to someone, and you’re my best friend. I gotta tell you I converted.”

“You converted? Phil, what are you talking? You’re becoming delirious.”

“Phil, I know what I’m saying. I converted.”

“I can’t believe it Phillip. Here your whole life you lived as a good Jew. And now in you’re last weeks of your life you convert?”

“Well Irv, I made a calculation like this. You know that there are so few Jews in the world and so many gentiles. If someone has to die, better one of them should die than one of us.”

The most seminal event that ever occurred, which vindicated all of creation, and gave the world purpose and destiny, was the giving of the Torah to Klal Yisroel on Sinai. Far beyond a mere constitution stating judicial law by which to abide, the Torah is the book of life, the key to a meaningful existence and to of all the happenings in the universe.

Rabbi Samson Rafael Hirsch notes[1] that, unlike all other constitutions which are composed by mortals as the code of law for their newfound societies, the Torah transcends man. He explains that because all other religions and laws emanate from contemporary humanity, they evolved into whatever man’s conception was of G-d at the time of the religion’s formation. Just like art, drama, culture, morals, and manners differ based on culture and time-period so do all other religions.

“But the Jewish ‘religion’ and the Jewish law did not emanate from the contemporary convictions of human beings, they do not contain the convictions of any certain people at any certain time of what G-d is and what G-dly and human matters are. They are given by G-d and contain that which according to the Will of G-d, should be man’s convictions in all ages regarding G-d and G-dly matters, and above all, of men, and human matters.”

Rabbi Hirsch continues that the Jewish people are by nature the most obdurate and skeptical of nations. The fact that they were willing to accept the Torah unequivocally is proof that the Torah did not emanate from the people but was given to the people.

This is also why the Torah had to be given in the wilderness, on a heretofore unknown mountain called Sinai. Moreover virtually no one, no person or animal, was allowed to be standing on Sinai when the Torah was given. The day before it possessed no sanctity, and the day after the revelation it again returned to its mundane status. But while the Torah was given no human life was to be in proximity of the mountain, to impress upon them that the Torah is of superhuman origin, and embraces all of human life.

Rabbi Jonathon Sacks[2] explains that what was transacted at Sinai was not a contract but a covenant. He explains, “In a contract, two or more individuals each pursuing their own interest, come together to make an exchange for mutual benefit. So, there are commercial contracts that create the market, and there is the social contract that creates the state. A covenant is something different, more like a marriage than a deal. In a covenant, two or more individuals, each respecting the dignity and integrity of the other, come together in a bond of love and trust, to share their interests, sometimes their lives, by pledging their faithfulness to one another, to do together what neither can achieve alone.

“A contract is a transaction. A covenant is a relationship. A contract is about interests. A covenant is about identity. It is about two or more ‘I’s coming together to form a ‘We’. A contract can be terminated with mutual consent when it is no longer in the interests of the parties to continue. A covenant binds the parties even in – especially in – difficult times. This is because a covenant is not about interests but about loyalty, fidelity, holding together when everything else is driving you apart. That is why contracts benefit, but covenants transform.”

When the Torah was given, it created an eternal covenant between G-d and Klal Yisroel, as it were. “And now, if you will hearken well to Me and you will preserve My covenant, you will be a treasure to Me from all the other nations, for all the earth is Mine.[3]” It is also very significant to note the geographical setting of the giving of the Torah. The covenant was made in the desert. The Israelites were no longer a band of escaped slaves; now they were transformed into an eidah, a civil people, with a destiny and a mission. This transpired despite the fact that they did not yet have a home. At that point in time they were a nomadic nation without a land. Never otherwise in history did a polity create a constitution before it had a home. But in regards to the Torah, the laws precede – and in a sense supersede – the land.

In the time of the prophet Shmuel, over four hundred and fifty years after the Torah was given at Sinai, Klal Yisroel became a kingdom, ruled by a dynasty of monarchs. But until then they were a nation. A kingdom is about rulers, government, and the distribution of power. But being a nation is chiefly focused on accepting and fulfilling commandments, morality, and sharing responsibility. Before we became a kingdom we had to become a nation.

Shortly after the Jews’ triumphant and miraculous ascension from the Sea of Reeds, the nation arrived in Marah where they found no water. “He cried out to G-d and G-d showed a tree to him; he threw it in the water and the water became sweet. There He established for the nation a decree and an ordinance, and there He tested it.[4]

Ramban explains[5] that the nation was now commencing a long trek through the desert that would last decades. Moshe was now instructing them about the realities of life in the wilderness that they would now encounter. They would have to learn to tolerate some level of hunger and thirst, and to pray to G-d for their needs. “He established a decree” refers to Moshe informing them of the realities of their situation. “An ordinance” refers to the protocol the nation would have to follow, “namely that each person love his fellowman, and conduct himself in accord with the counsel of elders, and that they act modestly in their tents with regard to the women and children, and that they should act peacefully towards those who might come to the camp to sell them something, and admonitions of restrained behavior that they should not be like the camps of marauders, who shamelessly commit all sorts of abominations…”

The test at that time was to see if the burgeoning nation could indeed commit to such a noble lifestyle, despite the fact that they were living a nomadic and tentative lifestyle. They had to prove their worthiness in this regard before they could be deemed worthy of receiving the Torah. In this sense they had to prove that they could uphold the covenant before they would commit to it.

To be a Jew is to be part of a regal nation who lives for a higher purpose. He is part of a binding covenant, a covenant that demands his unyielding allegiance and commitment.

“You will be a treasure to Me from all the other nations”

“He established for the nation a decree and an ordinance”

Rabbi Dani Staum, LMSW

Rabbi, Kehillat New Hempstead

Rebbe/Guidance Counselor – ASHAR

Principal – Ohr Naftoli- New Windsor

Sign up to receive Stam Torah via email each week at:

http://www.stamtorah.info

http://torah.stamtorah.info/view/mosaic



[1] 19:11

[2] Chief Rabbi of Great Britain, Future Tense

[3] 19:5

[4] 15:25

[5] Ramban actually offers three explanations. This is the third.



To sign up for Rabbi Horowitz’s weekly emails, please click here.


Reader's Comments:      Rating & Comments Policy      Rate & Write a Comment!
 Average Rating:       Not Rated Yet
Subscribe to this Article
(by subscribing you will receive email notification
when new comments are posted)
There are no comments yet. Click above to write the first comment.
Dear Readers:

Please visit our Parenting Resource listing to learn about agencies and services that you can make use of. If you know of an agency that can be of assistance to others, kindly drop an email to our site administrator at admin@RabbiHorowitz.com and pass along the information to him.

I ask that you please consider supporting the work we are doing to improve the lives of our children. Click on these links to learn more about our teen and parent mentoring program that serves hundreds of teens and their families, or our KESHER program, now in 20 schools in 4 states. Your financial support can allow us to expand these services and help more children.

If you believe in the governing principles of this website – to help effect positive change through the candid discussions of the real issues we collectively face, please consider becoming a daily, weekly or monthly sponsor of this website and help defray the costs of it’s maintenance.



Working with Families and Educators on Behalf of our Children

This site is managed by The Center for Jewish Family Life, Inc., 56 Briarcliff Drive, Monsey, NY 10952
Project Y.E.S. was founded by Agudath Israel of America
The Center for Jewish Family Life/Project YES - 56 Briarcliff Drive, Monsey, NY 10952 (845) 352-7100 ext. 114 Fax: (845) 352-9593
email: email@kosherjewishparenting.com


Advertisements