Tuesday, June 11, 2024

Rus and Shavuos -- kabbalas haTorah and redemption of Eretz Yisrael

1)  וכל העם ראים את הקולת ואת הלפידם ואת קול השפר ואת ההר עשן וירא העם וינעו ויעמדו מרחק (Shmos 20:14). Once the reisha of the pasuk tells us that the people saw the thunder and lightning, why does the seifa add וירא העם?  I think I've mentioned in the past the diyuk of Sefas Emes that  ראים is present tense.  It was not just the generation who was physically present at Sinai who saw קולת ואת הלפידם ואת קול השפר ואת ההר עשן, but every generation sees the same as well.  The experience of mattan Torah is one that takes present in the here and now, not sometime in the past.  

The Sefas Emes (5640) writes that וירא העם is not talking about seeing the smoke and thunder of Sinai, but it's talking about seeing this fact that mattan Torah is  experienced by each and every generation, right down to ours.  The reaction was therefore וינעו ויעמדו מרחק.  Not because the dor de'ah could not handle having front row seats, but because our generation is ראים as well, and we can't handle it.  We don't have the kelim to absorb such an experience, and at best can absorb what we take in at a glimpse from the distance.

Our job, says Sefas Emes, is to rectify that -- to earn the right to be able to have have front row seats.

2) Sefas Emes (5658) writes: ענין מגילת רות בשבועות. לבקש הגאולה.  The Torah tells us two different end goals for yetzi'as Mitzrayim: תעבדון את האלקים על ההר הזה and  וְהֵבֵאתִי אֶתְכֶם אֶל הָאָרֶץ אֲשֶׁר נָשָׂאתִי אֶת יָדִי לָתֵת אֹתָהּ לְאַבְרָהָם לְיִצְחָק וּלְיַעֲקֹב.  The truth is that these are one and the same, as Torah can only be fully realized in Eretz Yisrael, and Eretz Yisrael requires us to obey the Torah or we will have no kiyum in the land.  Chazal therefore instituted reading Rus on Shavuos so as to pair the story of Boaz's redemption of the land, the redemption of Naomi's fields, with the story of kabbalas haTorah.  Boaz = Bo oz, the oz of Torah was part of the essence of who Boaz was, which is why he succeeded as the גואל .  My SIL sent me a program planned for leil Shavuos in Netzarim, in Gaza.  The land is being redeemed once again.  We had a tremendous nefila on Simchas Torah, a chag of Torah, but we can have a tremendous aliya on Shavuos, the zman of kabbalas haTorah.  Says the Sefas Emes:  לכן בעצרת צריכין לבקש על הגאולה בכח התורה to pray for redemption through the descendent of Boaz, of David, with the coming of Mashiach.

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