Thursday, June 16, 2011

Talmud Shabbat 88: G - d covered the Jews with Har Sinai, Part 2

The Sleeping Beauty Galaxy



Although we find different Talmudic and Rabbinic statements that G – d was forcing the Jews to accept the Torah on Har Sinai (Mount Sinai), there are many other opinions. The famous commentator RAN, Rabbi Nissim of Gerona, for instance, said that the Jews had to accept the Torah in order to receive Eretz Israel. Thus, the Torah was their ticket to Israel.

When the Jews lived in the first Babylonian Diaspora after Nevuchadnezzar had destroyed the First Temple, many Jews thought that the Torah lost its validity. Why keeping Torah laws when they are not in the LAND anymore ? In fact, many Jews got accustomed to Babylonian idol – worship practises and assimilated because they didn’t see any future for the Jewish nation. The Land was gone and so was the Torah. Why then not be like all the other nations ?

However, after the severe incident with Haman and the Purim miracle taking place, the Jews found back to their roots. Unfortunately, not all Jews were prepared to move back to Israel when Ezra got the chance to take them back. Also here, assimilation was still a subject despite the miracle of Purim. The Talmud Tractate Yoma teaches us that only a small percentage of the Jews finally returned in order to rebuild Jerusalem and the Temple. Most Jews remained in Babylon, as they saw their businesses growing and weren’t interested in moving back to a devastated place. Those Jews moving back to Eretz Israel promised not to forget the Torah anymore and it should be valid for all future generations. 

The Talmudic Rabbi Resh Lakish compared the six days of creation to the 6th of Sivan. The day when the Jews received the Torah at Har Sinai. Rashi stated that the sixth day of creation actually refers to the 6th Sivan. A Gemara (rabbinic discussion) in the Talmud Tractate Shabbat 88a teaches that THE EARTH BECAME FRIGHTENED AND, IN THE END, GREW CALM. What does this mean ?

Says Rashi: The earth became frightened due to the reason that the Jews may not accept the Torah and, as a result of this, G – d would destroy His entire creation. However, the Jews did accept the Torah on 6th Sivan and the earth calmed down from its fear.

The Ramban (Nachmanides) commentates that the world was created in a way that the Jews would accept the Torah. Otherwise G – d would have destroyed His creation, as the whole purpose for creating the world had vanished. No purpose = No more creation.

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