Written by: Rabbi Mordechai Raizman
AT the end of this week’s Torah portion, the famous phrase Naaseh V’nishma is quoted. Our ancestors stated, “We will do what is commanded and then we will listen.” They took the ultimate leap of faith and put their trust in G-d to follow the Torah and its commandments. The Talmud relates that at the actual giving of the Torah, G-d picked up a mountain and was holding it above their heads. G-d says to the people, “Either you accept the Torah or you will be buried there.” The commentators wonder about this sentence. It would seem the correct way of saying it would be – If you don’t accept the Torah, you will be buried here – since G-d is holding the mountain on top of them. What is the meaning of you will be buried there which seems to reference another place?
The Tzobiner Rav z”l (a 20th century revered Rav) answers that G-d was explaining to them the importance of this acceptance. Just like we need air to breathe physically, we need the Torah to breathe spiritually. When B’nei Yisroel accepted the Torah, it was not just for the moment, an acceptance of here and now. Rather, an acceptance for all generations in the future as well. He was illustrating that without the Torah and its values it is as if one is dead. There will be your burial place is a reference to later at any point in time if one chooses to live devoid of these values.
Today we have many challenges in our society that confront our values on a daily basis. We need to keep making the choices that will keep the eternal flame of the Jewish people alive. G-d is still talking to us. We just need to respond.