Dvar Torah Succot Shabbat Chol Hamo’ed 5773 2012

Moshe had shattered the first tablets of the Ten Commandments and in today’s Torah reading (which is also read on Pesach Shabbat Chol Hamo’ed) he is told: פְּסָל לְךָ, “…carve for yourself two stone tablets…”. (Ex. 34,1) On these tablets were to be engraved a second set of the Ten Commandments.

Chazal tell us that when Moshe shattered the first tablets Hashem said to him: יישר כחך ששיברת, “All strength to you for you broke it”. (Shab. 87a)

We don’t read anywhere that Moshe had been told to pick out tablets upon which the first set of commandments was written. Why was he told to select the tablets for the second set of commandments?

Perhaps we can read into this a considerably substantial message. Hashem credited Moshe for crashing the first tablets. But by telling him to select the second set he was really saying I know you can break the tablets but can you also remake the new ones?

While Hashem gave Moshe the first set of the Ten Commandments, and Moshe had nothing to do with producing the tablets, Hashem required Moshe to participate in creating the second set. It is easy to destroy but it is much harder to build. It is easy to be negative, and we all know such people, but it is harder to be positive and to build.

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