Friday, February 10
- 06:50 am – Shacharit
- 04:50 pm – Mincha
- 04:51 pm – Candle lighting
- 08:30 pm – Men’s Derech Hashem class at the home of Daniel and Bonnie Bitran, 58 Grace Street.
Saturday, February 11
- 07:45 am – Shacharit at Salem Towers
- 08:45 am – Shacharit
- 09:22 am – Latest time for Kriat Shema
- 10:30 am – Jr. Congregation
- 11:15 am – Kiddush
- 04:25 pm – Mincha and Se’udah Shlishit
- 05:50 pm – Ma’ariv
- 06:01 pm – Shabbat Ends
February 12 – 17
- 08:00 am – Sunday
- 06:40 am – Monday and Thursday
- 06:50 am – Tuesday, Wednesday, and Friday
- 04:55 pm – Sunday – Thursday
- 05:00 pm – Friday
- 05:25 pm – Sunday – Thursday
To print this schedule, click here to go directly to the post, and then press ctrl-P (Windows) or cmd-P (Mac) to print it.
Weekly Words of Torah
Modesty and Action
Insights into Parshat Yitro of Mr. Moshe Fink of Yeshivat Sha’alvim, by Rav Re’uven Ungar of Sha’alvim.
Note the contrast between the two descriptions in which the Torah records the manner in which Hashem presented the Luchot to Am Yisrael. The first time the Jewish People received the Luchot, the event was accompanied by ‘fanfare, noise, and crowds’. Yet when Moshe is summoned to Har Sinai after having smashed the original Luchot, Hashem tells Moshe he is to go alone, the ‘no man should accompany him’. Why does Hashem to present the Luchot in such a ‘show-like’ atmosphere the first time, and in a quiet, subdued fashion the second?
Rashi in Parshat Ki Tisa, noting the discrepancy, states that the reason the second Luchot were presented in private is because ‘there is nothing greater than humility’. From Rashi’s standpoint, Hashem would have preferred to hand down the Luchot in private. Why then, did The Kadosh Baruch Hu abandon the principle of humility when giving over the Luchot at Har Sinai on Zman Matan Toratenu?
In Parshat Vaetchanan (4:9) the pasuk says: ‘Only, you should be careful and watch yourself, lest you forget the thing your eyes have seen and lest they be erased from your heart all the days of your life; make [these ideas] known to your children and children…’
Why did Moshe put such an emphasis on the importance of transmitting to our children a national memory of the events that took place at Har Sinai? The Ramban answers that Hashem wanted to establish a tradition that says the Torah was given from the mouth of G-d. Had Moshe simply relayed what Hashem had told him, even if he had given the signs of a Navi, there would always be doubt. Future generations would question whether the Torah was in fact given from the Mouth of G-d or the mouth of Moshe. With the knowledge of the revelation that transpired before all the people standing beneath the mountain, every Jew in any generation can defend the authenticity of the Torah against any cynic who claims that Torah was not given by G-d at Sinai. Every Jew in every corner of the earth can claim direct knowledge that Torah is the “Word of G-d” because his father told him that there was a revelation at Sinai. And his grandfather too was told by his father. This transmission can be traced all the way back to our anscestors who stood at Har Sinai.
So in fact Hashem would have preferred to give both sets of Luchot in private. But He had to transmit the first set with the accompaniment of bright light and loud noise, of lighting and thunder, because He wanted to create a national memory that would lead to this tradition. Once the knowledge of Torah MiSinai was firmly rooted into the belief of the common Jew, there was no need for future fanfare. Thus Hashem presented the second pair of Luchot in the preferred environment, in private.
Hashem’s actions teach a valuable lesson. We should always conduct ourselves with the humility that does not call attention to ourselves. We don’t need to be the loudest one during davening, we need not throw the most lavish Bar Miztva parties, or drive the flashiest cars. As Rashi says, ‘there is nothing greater than humility’.
Concurrently, Hashem’s actions show that there are situations in which an individual must step into the light.
To reiterate this point, the Gemara in Brachot brings down an argument as to whether Moshe was correct in turning his face away from the burning bush. One opinion says it was a zechuy for which he was awarded “Karneh Or”, while another maintains that he was punished for turning away. For when Moshe later asked Hashem to reveal Himself, his request was rejected. This Gemara begs the question: was Moshe’s turning away the correct response or an error?
A similar question arises from a comment that Rashi makes on the last Pasuk in Megillat Esther. Rashi points out that some members of the Sanhedrin distanced themselves from Mordechai since he chose to be involved in politics. Is Rashi suggesting that that Mordechai was wrong for serving as the individual who brought about the great Purim Miracle?
Perhaps Moshe and Mordechai were both faced with the same paradox. On the one hand the Torah demands that we shy away from the limelight. Yet on the other, the Torah demands that we step up and use our talents fulfill our destiny. In life, there is often no “right” answer; there is no “right” road to travel. We just have to make the best choice based on the factors that are presented to us. While the Torah demands that we be modest in our actions, the same Torah demands that we take action on behalf of Am Yisrael if the situation so dictates, even at the expense of assuming a public role. In the end what matters most is that whatever action we take should be LeShem Shamayim and not for personal aggrandizement.