Parashat Yitro – Hashem’s Place for Us

Parashat Yitro – Hashem’s Place for Us

We are constantly looking for our place in Torah.  We ask Hashem at the end of the Shemoneh Esreh to let it be His will that שֶׁיִּבָּנֶה בֵּית הַמִּקְדָּשׁ בִּמְהֵרָה בְיָמֵינוּ. וְתֵן חֶלְקֵנוּ בְּתורָתֶךָ.  But where should we look for our place and and how do we find it?

The Midrash tells us that the first word of the Aseres HaDibros “אנכי” (“I”) is an acronym for “אֲנָא נַפְשִׁי כְּתָבִית יְהָבִית.”, “I put my soul into the writings and gave them to you”.  Chassidus teaches that through this concept we can understand that every time we learn Torah, we are connecting to the inner aspect of Hashem.

To take this idea further, we learn from the Beis Yaakov of Ishbitz (R. Yaakov Leiner) that Hashem’s use of the word “אנכי” gives us access to the “מקור החיים”- “the source of all life”.  The difference between “אני” and “אנכי” is the letter “כ”. The letter “כ” is used in a way to make one word or one idea “like” another, to take away some of the completeness and leave some space for imagination.  A place that reminds you of another place you visited might be described to a friend as “like X place”- it invites your friend to imagine what that place looked like without fully describing it, it leaves room for imagination.  

By not revealing Himself fully to us, Hashem gives us the gift of the ability to constantly dig deeper.  If we got the whole Torah with complete understanding at Har Sinai there would be no place to grow, no renewal, no excitement over new concepts that we reveal through our learning.  But “אנכי” means that all the time we can learn something new, we can find a new aspect of Hashem that we haven’t yet seen and have a renewal of energy and connection. This renewal is the “מקור החיים”, inspiring us, pushing us and enabling us to grow and to learn more, to try to understand at an even deeper level and to have an even closer connection to our Creator. 

I bless us all that- in the knowledge that Hashem set it up this way- we should have the strength to dig for Him.  And I bless us even more that in the digging for Him, we should also reveal and connect in a deep way to the holiness of our souls.

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