Parashat Yitro

WAW! In this parashah, God promises the children of Israel that they would become His treasured nation by receiving the Torah: “And God called him (Moshe) from the mountain, saying: “Thus… you shall say to the children of Israel: You have observed what I did to the Egyptians. Now therefore, if you will LISTEN to my voice, and KEEP my covenant, you shall be my “precious treasure” above all nations.” The Torah also relates how the children of Israel unconditionally accepted this proposal: “Then Moshe came and called for the elders of the nation, and say … all these words which God had commanded him. And all the nation answered together: all that God has said, WE WILL DO”. What more can a nation long for than to be God’s ambassador in this world, and to be regarded by Him as His “precious treasure? After all, only two requirements had to be met: Listening to God’s voice and keeping His covenant. Apparently, the meaning of keeping the covenant is clear, the fulfillment of the Torah and the mitzvot; but what does it mean to listen to God’s voice? Moreover, it seems that at first, on the 4th of Shivan, the people accepted only to keep God’s covenant, but not to listen to His voice, since they said “we will do” but not “We will listen”. Only the next day, on the 5th day of the month of Shivan, they said “We will do and we will listen”. What was it that made the children of Israel change their minds just one day apart? The answer can be found in verse 7, where God asks the people to purify themselves 3 days before receiving the Torah. What kind of purification was it? Going to the mikveh, washing their clothes, not having marital intercourse, were not just empty rituals: for all the precepts have the same purpose: to purify our hearts in order to get closer to God, to clean the possible corrosion and indifference with which we may have dirtied it, since it is the only way to be able to LISTEN to God. If we disconnect the precepts from the voice of God, they become mechanical actions without much sense. It is true that there is an expression that says: In one ear and out the other”, but what penetrates the heart merges forever. God asked the people to take care of their covenant, but also not to forget the most important thing: the precepts are to connect to God, and for that we must purify our thoughts, our soul, our being.