Monday, June 09, 2014

kabbalas haTorah requires self-awareness

When Moshe went up to get the Torah, the angels argued that mankind is undeserving of receiving it.  G-d told Moshe to answer their claim.  Moshe was afraid lest the angels harm him, so G-d told him to grab onto his throne and he would protect him.  Moshe then responded that the words of Torah cannot possibly apply to angels.  Lo tirtzach” – do angels have a temptation to murder?  Lo tignov” – are angels tempted to steal (kidnap)?  Each of the aseres hadibros addresses a frailty that only human beings have.  With this, Moshe won the debate.

Instead of asking Moshe to answer the angels and then having to shield him from harm, why didn’t G-d just answer the angels himself?  After all, it was G-d’s choice to give the Torah to mankind just as much as our choice to receive it!

Maharal in his Derush al haTorah explains that we see from the gemara that Torah was given to mankind because man has imperfections.  Torah is a roadmap to overcome faults and grow – something angels cannot do.  But that process is possible only if one has self-awareness.  Unless a person is cognizant of his own faults and shortcomings, he can never aspire to anything greater.  Therefore, G-d could not answer the angels – the answer had to come from Moshe himself.  Our own kabbalas haTorah as well needs to start with the self-awareness; with the knowledge that we are imperfect and need that roadmap to get somewhere better. 

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