Rebbetzin Lee-at Goldstein
Ohr Savoy and Maharsha schools
They journeyed from Rephidim and arrived at the Wilderness of Sinai and encamped in the Wilderness; and Israel encamped there, opposite the mountain.
וַיִּסְעוּ מֵרְפִידִים וַיָּבֹאוּ מִדְבַּר סִינַי וַיַּחֲנוּ בַּמִּדְבָּר וַיִּחַן שָׁם יִשְׂרָאֵל נֶגֶד הָהָר.
Having journeyed from Rephidim, they entered the wilderness of Sinai and encamped in the wilderness. Israel encamped there in front of the mountain.
The verse above describes how Bnei Yisrael encamped around Har Sinai, eagerly awaiting to receive the holy Torah. The verb encamp is written in the singular. This comes to teach us that Bnei Yisrael stood as a united nation with one goal.
The event of Matan Torah is allegorized as a marriage. The Torah is called Morasha – Heritage,1 our Sages2 say that this could also be read as Me’orasah – Betrothal. Hashem is the groom and the Jewish people are His bride. For a man and wife to come together in marriage we say that they become one neshama (soul). A successful marriage is one with a foundation of unity and togetherness.
We see that the theme of unity and togetherness plays an important role in receiving the Torah. The ten commandments are split into five and five. The first five are commandments between man and Hashem and the next five are commandments between man and man. I think that there is a very profound lesson in this.
Unity is the only way to bring the holiness of the Torah into the world. When we connect deeply with Hashem we feel love and a desire to fulfill His word. However, this is not enough. Hashem only gave us this gift of the Torah when He saw us encamped, as one, around Har Sinai. Being a united nation requires us to care for and love our fellow man. When we stand as individuals with one heart and one goal, that is when the true glory of Hashem’s Torah can filter into our world.
Talmud, Berachot 57a; Talmud, Pesachim 49b