Dvar Torah Parshat Ekev 5771 2011

Moshe describes a terrible scene that took place at Mt. Sinai. He relates how he came down from the mountain carrying the two tablets with the words of Hashem engraved on them and he saw how the people had created an idol and were worshipping it. His reaction was of horror and he shattered the tablets with the Ten Commandments, as he describes it: VA’ASHABREM LE’EYNEYCHEM, …and I smashed them before your eyes.” (Deut. 9,17)

The expression “before your eyes” is a very telling one. He did not say he destroyed the Ten Commandments, but that he smashed them “before your eyes”. This was a visible scene. This was an act to gain their attention. The Commandments were not destroyed. Only the tablets were.

This is emphasized in what the Midrash relates to us about what happened when the Romans martyred Rabbi Chanina ben Tradyon. He was wrapped in a Torah scroll and was burned to death. At this tragic moment he said that he sees the scroll burning but the words were floating in the air. The physical Torah could be destroyed but not its teachings. That was what happened with the tablets.

The world could not exist without these directives that came down to us directly from Hashem. They were the foundation of society and civilization. They were not only for the Jewish people but for all mankind.

The world has gradually come to recognize their significance and has theoretically adopted them. The world recognizes the truth and the necessity for these rules in order for civilization to survive.

It is unfortunate that the world has abandoned them in our time. Forsaking these ideals has led the world to a terrible spiritual vacuum and a destructive secular existence. 

 

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