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Where is Sinai? In your Heart!

Tuesday, 3 June, 2014 - 7:01 am


Tonight is the holiday of Shavuot, the festival of the giving of the Torah, the day G-d came down on Mount Sinai.

Where is Mount Sinai, what is its exact location?

Torah has no precise description of where this mountain is. Researchers of recent generations point to several possible mountains and identify them with the biblical Mount Sinai: Jebel Musa, Ras Safsaf, Jabal al Halal and more.

At the beginning of 1956, Egypt closed the Straits of Tiran to Israeli vessels and thus paralyzed the port of Eilat. Egypt nationalized the "Suez Canal" which was under the control of Britain and France. This led Britain and France to persuade Israel to go to war against Egypt. The State of Israel went into the battle, known as Operation Sinai, during which she captured the Sinai Peninsula, damaging the Egyptian military infrastructure. Several soldiers came to a mountain, in the opinion of some researchers, known to be the biblical Mount Sinai.

One of the Israeli soldiers to arrive there was Dr. Moshe Baharev. Moshe was excited to go to the spot where perhaps our forefathers stood before three thousand year, where they received the Torah and became the Jewish People.

However, while ascending the mountain, contrary to his expectations of feeling spiritually uplifted, he did not feel anything in particular. Moshe had a sense of disappointment; he did not feel that this mountain was Mount Sinai. After he returned home, he sent a letter to the Rebbe in which he expressed his feelings about the identification of the mountain.

The Rebbe responded: This that you write that you did not feel that this is the mountain, obviously, for a person of your stature, it is extraneous to stress that the importance of Mount Sinai is that on it the Jewish people accepted the Torah. That importance is given meaning when the Torah is observed properly.

That we received the Torah on Mount Sinai is of importance as it guides our lives. Yet, the physical identification of the mountain has no special meaning.

The truth is, the Rebbe goes on to write to Moshe (the soldier), that all Jewish souls are connected to the Torah and are bound as one with it. True, sometimes people act as if they do not have a relationship with the Torah, but in their soul - every Jew has a strong bond associated with the Torah.

Therefore, the Chassidic method is to inspire all Jews to reconnect with their heritage and reveal their connection to the Torah that was given on Mount Sinai. Not, G-d forbid, forcing them to do something new, just to reveal that which belongs to him and remove the things that cover over their real connection with the Torah that was revealed at Sinai 3,326 years ago.

Our job is to find ways to bring the Torah into our lives by observing another mitzvah and revealing that (sometimes) hidden connection.

So if they ask you where exactly is Sinai, what is its exact location - you can point to the center of each of our hearts. It is in our hands with which we do Mitzvot. It is in our souls. It is in the Torah which is MY Torah!

With blessings to receive the Torah joyously and (in an "inner" way, i.e.) deeply,

Rabbi Kushi Schusterman

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