click here to see BREAKING STONES FROM HAR SINAI
click YITRO 2023 final for download
A LESSON FROM A HAR SINAI STONE
The exact place of Har Sinai, is still unknown. But the mountain we know, seems to have the following signs:
The Nervoni, one of the commentators of the Guide of the Perplexed of the Rambam, wrote 700 years ago: Know about Har Sinai, that each one of its rocks has the shape of the Thornbush on it. That is why it is called הר סיני because of the סנה , the thornbush design on its rocks. (See Pirkei D’RE 41) One of the Noblemen of Barcelona brought one of the stones back from the Mt. with him. He showed it to his family, and when I saw the thornbush on the rock, I broke the rock into half, and there was a thornbush again, on the inside of the crack, on the two halves! I broke it again, now into four, and again, on each side of each of the four stones, was a thornbush! I broke it until it was the size of peanuts, and there was always a thornbush shape, on each stone!
That testimony was 700 years ago. In our century, Israel’s Department of Geology crushed these stones thin. On every stone, not matter how small the stones were crushed, the sign of a thornbush was seen, even from a microscope!
The stones are reddish, as if they went through a fire! Well, in our Parasha the Torah teaches that over 2000 years ago, they did go through a fire, when G-d came to the mountain, to give His Torah!! וְהַ֤ר סִינַי֙ עָשַׁ֣ן כֻּלּ֔וֹ מִ֠פְּנֵי אֲשֶׁ֨ר יָרַ֥ד עָלָ֛יו יְקֹוָ֖ק בָּאֵ֑שׁ וַיַּ֤עַל עֲשָׁנוֹ֙ כְּעֶ֣שֶׁן הַכִּבְשָׁ֔ן And the mountain of Sinai was entirely in smoke, because the Fire of G-d descended upon it, and the smoke went up like the smoke of a furnace! But wait there is more! The Or Hachaim writes on these words: פירוש ששלט האש בגופו של הר ונשרפו אבניו כמשפט הכבשן אשר ישרפו בו האבנים לעשות סיד, ומעתה אבני סיני נעשו סיד, The fire took over the entire “body” of the mountain, and its stones were burnt, like when you burn stones in an oven! The stones were actually burnt with the fire of the Shechina!
We don’t know what the fire of the Shechina looks like, but we know that when G-d appeared to Moshe in fire, he appeared to Moshe on Har Sinai in a fire in a thornbush. The purpose of G-d first revealing Himself to Moshe in a thornbush, was so that, when Moshe will come back to Har Sinai to receive the Torah, he would be ready for a much greater revelation of G-d in fire when G-d would reveal Himself! (See Meam Loez Shemot) And probably that fire was also in the shape of a thornbush!
A geologist once checked the thornbush designs on the rocks, to see what element the thornbush marking on the rocks actually are. His findings were amazing! The element is magnesium! This was some sort of electric shock! What are the properties of magnesium?
This is what Wikipedia says about magnesium: When burning in air, magnesium produces a brilliant-white light that includes strong ultraviolet wavelengths. Magnesium powder was used for subject illumination in the early days of photography. Magnesium filament was used in electrically ignited single-use photography flashbulbs. Magnesium powder is used in fireworks, and marine flares where a brilliant white light is required. It was also used for various theatrical effects, such as lightning, pistol flashes, and supernatural appearances.
In the Song of Devorah, the passuk says, הָרִ֥ים נָזְל֖וּ מִפְּנֵ֣י יְקֹוָ֑ק זֶ֣ה סִינַ֔י Mountains, dripped from in front of YKVK, This is Sinai! Rashi explains, that this dripping was the fire that went through the stones, some sort of lava!
There is no such mountain that has such a phenomenon in its stones! All these physical signs of revelation of G-d on this mountain, and the fire that was there! But what is the message hidden in the stones? G-d doesn’t make miracles for fun, but for the message. What’s the message to us?
One message is that no matter how many times the Jewish people are broken, and how separated a Jew is from his community, the fire of G-d’s Word is in his heart. We say, a few times a day, in the first words of the Amida, אלוקינו ואלוקי אבותינו Our G-d and the G-d of our Fathers. We only say G-d of Abraham, Yitzhak and Yaakov, because they proved till their last days of their lives, that they were devoted to G-d and servicing Him, and that they were above their Yetzer Hara, with no connection to sin. How then, can we say, Our G-d, if not all of us proved our loyalty to G-d? (See Rashi Bereshi 28, 13)
On the most simplistic level, we can say, that no matter how much the Gentiles break the Jewish nation, pogroms, inquisitions, exiles, the Jew, still remains. No matter how separated a Jew is from His nation, He still has a spiritual spark that cannot be extinguished! No matter how you slice the Jew, there is a part of G-dliness that is above sin. This holy place inside the Neshama, is like the black box in the plane cockpit. The black box is indestructible, and made to withstand high impact velocity and high temperatures. There is a part of every Neshama, that is part of Klal Yisrael, that is indestructible, and can survive the greatest spiritual dangers, and contamination. That part always has in it a piece of G-dliness. The Jewish spark, the “Pintele Yid”, is the point deep within, that is waiting to be ignited. On that spark, we say, אלוקינו , Our G-d!
Only after Yitzhak smelled with his Ruach Hakodesh the Jewish evildoers of the generations that do Teshuvah did he bless him. וירח את ריח בגדיו He smelled the scent of Yaakov’s clothes, hints to וירח את ריח בוגדיו, He scented the scent of Gan Eden that emanated from the rebels, the evildoers, who repented. And only then, Yitzhak blessed Yaakov. And he said, ויתן לך האלקים. And may He give you, the Elokim,… The blessing hints to the source from which the Jewish People got this superhuman strength. Listen closely. And may He give you the Elokim, … May G-d give us the G-dliness we need to stand up strong for a higher purpose. We all have this G-dliness, this צלם אלוקים inside us. It is the ability to exercise self-discipline; it is the ability to have self-sacrifice. No matter how low a Jew has fallen, there is a point of self-sacrifice he can find from within.
Here is another lesson. G-d appearing in a thornbush is His icon of empathy, that G-d is in pain when we are in pain. בְּֽכָל־צָרָתָ֣ם׀ ל֣וֹ צָ֗ר In all their pain, He is in pain. (Yesahaya 63;9) This means, that G-d feels every Jews pain, and is with the Jew in his/her pain. G-d first has empathy, and only then does He communicate! When G-d communicated with the Jews, He spoke to each one separately, not as a whole, אָֽנֹכִ֖י֙ יְקֹוָ֣ק אֱלֹק֔יךָ אֲשֶׁ֧ר הוֹצֵאתִ֛יךָ מֵאֶ֥רֶץ מִצְרַ֖יִם מִבֵּ֣֥ית עֲבָדִֽ֑ים . I am YKVK your G-d, that I took you out of the Land of Egypt, from the house of slaves. The your, and you, here is in singular form, not in plural form. Before communicating with us, G-d tells us, that He has empathy on each and every one of us, because only after empathy, is there communication. And that is why, He puts a thornbush on every single particle of the mountain!
The way for us to educate each and every Jew, is only through empathy. Understanding the point of view of each and every Jew, and from that point, to teach them Torah. Parents and educators, rabbis of communities, have difficulty with making impact on their children, students or members. It is not that the message is not clear, it is not that the disciple does not know what the right thing to do is, or needs to be reminded. The disciple simply does not have the energy to do what he/she knows, is the right thing to do.
The way to help that disciple, is only through empathy. The best parents and teachers, are the ones who know how to relate best to the place of that disciple! G-d knows that it is hard for us to keep His Torah. So He tells you, “I am with you, I understand you and where you are coming from, and I am speaking to YOU. I know you could do My 613, and I believe you can rise to the challenge, to become the most G-dly you can become. I WILL NEVER GIVE UP ON YOU!”
The most powerful human regulator is empathy. We can control another person’s heartrate and blood pressure with our words. We have to understand our disciples, their concerns, perspectives, and what is hard about their situation. We need many more interactions with our children, that are showing them, that we just want to understand them, than interactions where we are communicating with them disappointment, disproval or discipline.