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Shabbat Parashat Bechukotai 5779

Ein Ayah: Caution between Inspiration and Greater Inspiration

(condensed from Ein Ayah, Shabbat 9:22-24)

Gemara: [We continue with the events that preceded the revelation and the presenting of the Ten Commandments at Mount Sinai. On Sunday, they arrived at Sinai; on Monday, they were promised to be a unique spiritual nation in the world (segula).]  

On Tuesday they were given the mitzva to cordon off the area around Mt. Sinai (into which unauthorized people were strictly forbidden to go). On Wednesday, they were to start separating themselves (from their wives).


Ein Ayah: Only after the lofty goal is presented, [even if it will be fulfilled only in the distant future], with all the beauty of its glory, and people’s souls are excited to reach that level, then there is a need to fear sudden steps to break out forward. When one leaves the path of gradual progress, then people are liable to expose themselves to destruction in the world.

On the other hand, if they would be forced to scale down the idea before it was revealed to them that they will be exposed to a great light that will enlighten the whole universe, then their minds would be darkened and would not embrace the lofty spiritual form of the human soul to strive for greatness. However, after the heavenly aura, with all its grandeur, will be clearly presented to the spirit, and the great aspiration for spiritual greatness of global impact is presented, then one can be told to hold back and will not have his spirit overly weakened. Rather, at that point, the lack of restraint is more of a concern.

Therefore, only on Monday they were told: “You shall be for Me a nation of priests” (Shemot 19:6). After the tower of light was displayed to Israel and they realized how lofty the status for which they have to aspire was, they needed to have the fast flow of excitement curbed so that they not go beyond the boundaries. That is why the cordoning off of Sinai took place on Tuesday.

On Wednesday, it was time for the separation in people’s personal lives, and the following is the logic behind the order. First there was a glimpse of great spiritual light, which pushes one toward his ascendance. Then there was a measuring of the pace of the ascendance. The final preparation was to arrange things on a personal, practical level.

One needs to separate between the pure soul and the emotions of the body and its forces so that they not become intertwined in a negative way. The body’s coarse actions and inclinations are at the bottom of the natural fabric that makes man’s life.

When one has the separation, not only will his spiritual expansion not be harmed, but it will actually be expanded by a powerful purity. Now he will be ready to listen to voice of the Holy G-d from an awe-inspiring stature of sanctity, which the whole nation reached at the revelation at Sinai.

So, after the drawing of boundaries that followed being informed about their segula, it was time to be told to temporarily separate from their wives.
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