Parshat Yitro: Time to Climb the Mountain


Jerusalem, Israel
HaRav Yehuda Kroizer SHLIT"A, Rosh Yeshiva

20 Shvat, 5766/17-18 February, 2006


Rav Kahane HY"D would frequently quote the Gerer Rebbi, who brought down the Rabbis' question of why the Torah was given on Mt. Sinai. Surely there were grander and higher mountains for the Torah to be given on?
For Mt. Sinai is certainly not the highest of mountains, but rather low. The answer, says the Rabbi, is that Hashem wanted to teach the Jewish people that a person must be humble. A Jew must not have his head in the sky and be haughty, but rather not think too highly of himself.

The Gerer Rebbi then asked: If that is so, if that is the lesson that Hashem wanted to teach us, then why did He not give us the Torah in a valley? For nothing is lower then a valley. He answered that there is another lesson to be learned here, just as important as the first one - and that is not to be too humble, as a valley, to let yourself be stepped on. That, too, is not the Jewish way. True, a Jew must be modest, for this is a great trait, but to be so low that people can walk over you - that, too, is not the Jewish way to go.

If this is true, about how an individual Jew must act, then how much more so is it true when it comes to how the nation of Israel must be in the eyes of the world. As we learn in this week's parsha, when Hashem tells us that we, the children of Israel, are a holy nation, a priestly nation and that we have been chosen from among all the nations of the world. Certainly in the long and bitter exile that we have been in for the last 2000 years, we were of a lowly spirit, more like the valley (the valley of death, that is) than any mountain. But, in our own home? The Jew must walk upright, resembling the mountain. For it is not his own image that he projects, but of the G-dly people whom Hashem cherishes and chose to be His guiding light in this world.

I thought of this Torah this week, when our beloved President of Yeshivat HaRa'ayon, Professor Herbert Sunshine, sent out the following quote by ouracting PM Olmert, at the Israel policy forum on June 9, 2005: "We are tired of fighting, we are tired of being courageous, we are tired of winning, we are tired of defeating our enemies, we want to be able to live in an entirely different environment with our enemies".

An entirely different environment with our enemies??? What has the acting PM been smoking in his office? I suggest to the honorable actor that he go down to Gaza City by himself and ask Hamas what kind of a "new environment" they would like to see the Jewish people in! If he's tired, then that's fine with me, but his place is NOT in the big chair, with that kind of an outlook! I think we can all chip in and raise some money to send him and all the other tired people down to Florida to rest up, while we will make room for the Jews who still have spirit and that are young at heart, who know what kind of an "environment" one needs to deal with Hamas - certainly a different one that is seen today!

We are not in the valley any more; leave the valley in the pits, where vallies belong. The time has come to climb the mountain!

With love of Israel,
Levi Chazen

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