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Shabbat Parashat Teruma 5778

Ein Ayah: The Connection between Letters and Sinai

(condensed from Ein Ayah, Shabbat 6:19-20)

Gemara: The letter shin on the tefillin is a halacha l’Moshe miSinai (it was handed down orally by Hashem to Moshe at Sinai). The letter dalet [which is formed by the straps] of the tefillin is a halacha l’Moshe miSinai  

Ein Ayah
: Sinai is the place that represents humility (see Megilla 29a). We find Hashem’s greatness in the place where we find His humility. Hashem’s revelation is seen by man according to his ability to grasp it with his intellect and senses, although he is never able to grasp the secret of His complete oneness.

The light of Hashem appears as three lines that extend in different directions across the world: kindness, justice, and the middle ground between them. This idea also applies to things that relate to community, to the individual, and to the elements that connect them. In all elements of existence, we know that distinct lines are united at one point, i.e., they have a common goal, which envelops the breadth of reality.

There is a lower level of unity, which contains shades of the general lines of intellect and strength, according to their innate characteristics, and has the ability to complete their spiritual images. This “ray of light” is also a unique line that goes in the same direction as the others. All of these ideas are ways of the world, which were passed to Moshe at Sinai, which allow the lofty knowledge of Hashem to reach a low enough point for man, who lives on earth, to find the highest level that is embedded in his spirit.

The letter shin consists of lines that are separate on the top, the part that represents the beginning of existence. On the bottom, the part that corresponds to the process’ end, they unite. This is a clear and set testimony to raise a person to the unifying source of light. This is done with the greatest humility (represented by Sinai), which finds good feeling and calmness in every recognition of truth and in all good that exists under all circumstances, for all lead to one place. This is the grandeur (a hint at tefillin, called p’er), which constantly fills the heart with the recognition of the G-d of truth, the one and unique King.

The Torah of truth, our nation’s legacy, includes all the ways of life we need for eternity, both nationally and individually. It includes all the values and guidance for all life situations. “You shall lead me with Your advice, and You will take me to follow Your honor” (Tehillim 73:24). We learn from He who counted the soil of Yaakov that endless mitzvot are fulfilled with earth, referring to the lowest and most land-based activities.

The most profound tendencies are a “line” to light and kindness and can be described as the ones that lean to the right. Intellectual lights, represented by the letter’s upper part, are broader than the love of physical actions of kindness. Since the fruit of wisdom is established in the light of Hashem for eternity, this is the ultimate light of kindness. Hashem’s light has hovered above us since Hashem called His name upon us and changed us by giving us the light of Torah by means of Moshe, His trustworthy shepherd, whose life was based on the light of Hashem. True kindness was also Moshe’s desire. The formation of the wisdom and kindness is represented by the letter dalet’s horizontal and vertical lines. It extends across the top and goes down with a right-sided line that serves as its base. “For I have said: ‘The world will be built on kindness’” (Tehillim 89:3).

The dalet of the tefillin is a halacha l’Moshe miSinai because wisdom that is rooted in humility connects to a “line to the right,” representing support for those in despair. This is different from wisdom that is “dressed in grandeur,” which forgets needy people. The Torah of Moshe is different, because to him Hashem said: “I have seen the torment of My nation in Egypt and I have heard their screams” (Shemot 3:7).
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