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If Mt. Sinai teaches us humility, shouldn't the Torah have been given on a flatland?

by Rabbi Yossi Marcus

  

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Although the importance of humility cannot be overemphasized, a person must also have a certain measure of pride and strength of conviction.* A totally meek person will feel powerless when he encounters the challenges, doubts, cynicism, and mockery of a world that obscures Goodness. After all, what credibility does he have to stand up against these and oppose them? So, he must be a “mountain”; he must master the art of asserting himself with a “Kosher superiority complex,” namely, one that stems from the knowledge that he’s doing the right thing.

So, he must be a “mountain”; he must master the art of asserting himself with a “kosher superiority complex,” namely, one that stems from the knowledge that he’s doing the right thing...
Still, personal pride has no place in Judaism. The constant awareness and consciousness of G-d that Judaism requires us to maintain does not allow as any self-aggrandizement or self-importance. The pride we are to feel is G-d’s pride: the recognition that we are endowed with His mission. This is the source of our dignity and “impudence” to challenge the cherished notions of the natural order. So, the mountain of choice was the most modest, Mount Sinai—a mountain, indeed, but a mountain of humility.


*See Sotah 5a; Shabbat 67a; Shulchan Aruch Harav, Orach Chayim 1:1.

Sources: Sichot Kodesh 5740, vol. 2, pp. 86-91; Likutei Sichot, vol. 17, pp. 304-7.

By the way, here’s the source for the idea that Mount Sinai represents humility: Targum Yonatan ben Uziel, Judges 5:5, Psalms 68:17; Midrash Tehillim 68:17; Likutei Torah 3:15b ff.

TAGS: sinai

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Shabbat
(pl: Shabbatot). Hebrew word meaning "rest." It is a Biblical commandment to sanctify and rest on Saturday, the seventh day of the week. This commemorates the fact that after creating the world in six days, G-d rested on the seventh.
Torah
Torah is G–d’s teaching to man. In general terms, we refer to the Five Books of Moses as “The Torah.” But in truth, all Jewish beliefs and laws are part of the Torah.
Kosher
Literally means "fit." Commonly used to describe foods which are permitted by Jewish dietary laws, but is also used to describe religious articles (such as a Torah scroll or Sukkah) which meet the requirements of Jewish law.
Midrash
(Pl. Midrashim). Non-legal material of anecdotal or allegorical nature, designed either to clarify historical material, or to teach a moral point. The Midrashim were compiled by the sages who authored the Mishna and Talmud (200 BCE-500 CE).
Psalms
The Book of Psalms. One of the 24 books of the Bible. Compiled by King David; mostly comprised of poetic praise for G-d. A large part of our prayers are culled from this book.
Tehillim
The Book of Psalms. One of the 24 books of the Bible. Compiled by King David; mostly comprised of poetic praise for G-d. A large part of our prayers are culled from this book.
Sotah
A woman suspected of adultery, with probable cause. She is taken to the Holy Temple and given a potion which causes her death if she is guilty of the sin.
G-d
It is forbidden to erase or deface the name of G-d. It is therefore customary to insert a dash in middle of G-d's name, allowing us to erase or discard the paper it is written on if necessary.