by HaRav Dov Begon
Rosh HaYeshiva, Machon Meir
It says, “Israel camped opposite the mountain” (Exodus 19:2). Rashi explains, “As one man and of one mind, but all their other encampments were made in a spirit of resentment and dissension.” The precondition for Israel’s being ready for the Sinai Revelation was their all being as one man and of one mind, without resentment or dissension.
We can derive a lesson from precise analysis of Rashi’s wording: “As one man.” Every individual has numerous limbs and organs and diverse attributes. Yet they all add up to one person, with each limb and organ and every attribute supplementing what is lacking in the others. It is the same with the Jewish People. Every Jew is different, “for neither in mind or appearance do they resemble one another” (Berachot 58). All the same, we are one people marching up through history to our divine destiny, to serve as a light unto the nations.
Why was it necessary for Rashi to add “and of one mind”? Rashi was hinting that it is not enough that the Jewish people possess one “body,” one national framework. That national framework needs a heart -- a human heart -- a center in which the whole Jewish People can be united and draw strength. Indeed, from time immemorial the Jewish People have always had one center, one heart. In the Desert, the Mishkan [tabernacle] was that heart, and in the Land, it was the First and Second Temples. They were the source from which the nation drew its psychological and spiritual strength. When we went into exile for two thousand years, the synagogues and study houses constituted a miniature Temple, and from them the nation drew strength to survive the dark exile.
Now, on our return to our land and to Jerusalem our capital, on the way to building the Third Temple -- may it be soon in our day -- the centrality of the State of Israel for the Jewish People and for all of mankind is being revealed more and more. Eretz Yisrael and Jerusalem are becoming the center of Torah on earth, leading to fulfillment of Isaiah’s words: “For out of Zion shall go forth the Torah, and the word of the L-rd from Jerusalem” (Isaiah 2:3).
Right now, despite all of the political struggles, we must remember and imbue in our hearts that when all is said and done, we are one nation -- as one man, of one mind -- whose purpose is to publicize that the L-rd G-d of Israel is One and His kingdom rules over all.
Longing forward to complete redemption,