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He Loved His People

Moses clutched the smooth, sparkling blue stones close to his heart. He had spent forty days on a mountaintop with no food or drink, deeply immersed in a spiritual state as he prepared to receive the Tablets, G-d's gift to the Jewish people. These Tablets were no ordinary stones. They contained G-d's holy writ, engraved by His own hand. The engraving of the Tablets was miraculous: Although they were engraved completely, through and through, they could be read clearly on both sides. The centers of the letters "Final Mem" and "Samech," despite being engraved all around, did not fall out but remained suspended in midair.

"Moses turned around and descended from the mountain, with the two Tablets of the Testimony in his hand... It happened as he drew near the camp and he saw the calf and the dances, that Moses' anger burned. He threw down the Tablets from his hands and shattered them at the bottom of the mountain." (Ki Tisa, 32:15-19)

Why? How could Moses bring himself to do this? Those who sinned were perhaps not worthy of receiving this divine gift. But how was it possible for Moses to destroy such a precious treasure? How could Moses be sure that G-d would give him a second set of Tablets to replace the first?

Rashi in his commentary explains that the Tablets were like a marital contract that obligated the Jewish people to be loyal to G-d. When they betrayed G-d by sinning with the golden calf, the Tablets served as a prosecutor against them. Therefore, Moses hastened to destroy them, as he later told G-d: There is no contract, and thus there is no basis to convict or punish your children.

Such bravery was possible only for a leader of the caliber of Moses. For the sake of his people, he was prepared to give up the privilege of having his own name included in the Torah, as he said to G-d: If you will not forgive them, wipe me out of your book. Not only this; he also agreed to forgo the treasure that he himself received from the hand of G-d. The intense love of a leader for his nation is unimaginable.

This trait is characteristic of all true Jewish leaders throughout Jewish history. They were prepared to give over their own lives completely for the sake of their nation's physical or spiritual welfare. In our generation, we have seen the intense dedication of the Lubavitcher Rebbe and his untiring, unstoppable efforts on behalf of the Jewish people. The book of Isaiah describes Moshiach as one who "bears our illnesses and endures our pain." Moshiach takes upon himself the challenge of preparing his nation for redemption, even when it involves actual pain and suffering to himself.

It is proper that we, also, should do our part to bring Moshiach. Through doing Mitzvot in a beautiful fashion, and increasing our Torah study, particularly in the topic of redemption, we are guaranteed to see the revelation of Moshiach, with the complete redemption.

 

 


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