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לימוד תורה

Patience now! - the Heroism in patience and agility

Rabbi Eliezer Shenvald – The Parasha in our everyday life – Ki Tisah - Parah – 5781

Do you feel we live in a generation that has lost its patience with thorough and protracted processes, that has accelerated its path, also in personal life and in politics?! A generation that seeks to 'shorten processes' and get immediate results. Not waiting in line, making a quick 'exit', fast communication data from 5th generation, and short messages the length of Twitter characters? A generation that wants everything 'now': Peace Now! Mashiach Now! Control now! Everything, now! And fast! And especially without working too hard!?

Do you also find it difficult to understand, then, how changes and government reforms are 'smeared', and it takes too long for some of the government regulations to change and all the bureaucracy involved!? And how do you explain the contradiction: between the being of the generation of lightness and 'shortcuts', and between the heaviness and great difficulty of changing what is required in our personal lives. The procrastination that causes us to miss opportunities, and all this despite the heavy personal price it costs?!

"There is a blessed agility, an expression of efficiency. However, there is also a negative impatience! The wisdom is to know how to handle each situation". (Mivchar HaPeninim Rabbi Solomon ibn Gabirol- Rashbag).

The sin of the calf in our Parasha was caused because of impatience and restlessness while waiting for Moshe to come down from the mountain:

וַיַּ֣רְא הָעָ֔ם כִּֽי־בֹשֵׁ֥שׁ מֹשֶׁ֖ה לָרֶ֣דֶת מִן־הָהָ֑ר וַיִּקָּהֵ֨ל הָעָ֜ם עַֽל־אַהֲרֹ֗ן וַיֹּאמְר֤וּ אֵלָיו֙ ק֣וּם עֲשֵׂה־לָ֣נוּ אֱלֹקים

"When the people saw that Moshe was so long in coming down from the mountain, the people gathered against Aaron and said to him, “Come, make us a G-d ...” (Shmot 32:1)

אָמַר רַבִּי אֱלִיעֶזֶר שְׁלשָׁה הֵן שֶׁלֹא הִמְתִּינוּ בְּשַׁלְוָתָן שֵׁשׁ שָׁעוֹת וְאֵלּוּ הֵן, אָדָם, וְיִשְׂרָאֵל, וְסִיסְרָא. אָדָם, שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר: וְלֹא יִתְבּוֹשָׁשׁוּ, לֹא בָאוּ שֵׁשׁ שָׁעוֹת וְהוּא בְּשַׁלְוָתוֹ. וְיִשְׂרָאֵל, שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (שמות לב, א): וַיַּרְא הָעָם כִּי בשֵׁשׁ משֶׁה, כִּי בָאוּ שֵׁשׁ שָׁעוֹת וְלֹא בָא משֶׁה...

"Rabbi Eleazar said: there were three who did not wait for their contentment even six hours, and these are they: Adam, and Israel, and Sisra. Adam, as it says: "and they were not embarrassed" - six hours had not passed, and he was content. Israel, as it says: "And the nation saw that Moshe delayed" (Shmot 32:1), when six hours had passed, and Moshe had not appeared…" (Bereshit Rabbah 18:6).

According to their counting, Moshe Rabbeinu had to come down after the sixth hour. Therefore, they hurried to conclude that he was not there anymore and demanded a replacement leader from Aaron, immediately!

They rushed and did not want to wait. The same way, Adam Harishon was required to abide by the Divine command for a limited time and failed:

אמר רבי יהודה בן פדיה, מי יגלה עפר מעיניך אדם הראשון, שאתה לא יכול לעמוד בנסיותך אפילו שעה אחת, והרי בניך משמרין כל המצות שנתנו להם ועומדין בהן.

"R. Judah ben Pedayah said, “Would that someone remove the dust from your eyes, O Adam HaRishon, you who could not persevere in your temptation for even a single hour, while here your children are keeping all the commandments which were given to them and persevering in them!”

(Midrash Tanchuma Shmini 8).


The impatience and restlessness led to the severe act of the calf and its punishment:

אִלּוּ הִמְתִּינוּ יִשְׂרָאֵל לְמשֶׁה וְלֹא הָיוּ עוֹשִׂים אוֹתוֹ מַעֲשֶׂה, לֹא הָיְתָה גָּלֻיּוֹת וְלֹא מַלְאַךְ הַמָּוֶת שׁוֹלֵט בָּהֶן... אָמַר הַקָּדוֹשׁ בָּרוּךְ הוּא בְּשִׁיטָתוֹ שֶׁל אָדָם הָרִאשׁוֹן הֲלַכְתֶּם שֶׁלֹא עָמַד בְּנִסְיוֹנוֹ שָׁלשׁ שָׁעוֹת וּבְתֵשַׁע שָׁעוֹת נִקְנְסָה עָלָיו מִיתָה...

"If the Israelites had waited for Moshe and had not acted, most probably that they would not have been exiled and the Angel of Death would not rule over them... G-d said you followed the same path as Adam HaRishon, that did not overcome temptation; and therefore was punished to die." (Shmot Rabbah 32:1).

Hence the conclusion:

המתון שאחריתו השגה, טוב מן המהירות שאחריתה חסרון

"And it is said: The moderate who slowly makes achievements, is better than the speedy who is lacking something at the end!" (Mivchar HaPeninim Rabbi Solomon ibn Gabirol- Rashbag).

On a different side, we find the agility of the nation in everything that was related to the construction of the Tabernacle. In collecting the donations for the Tabernacle, they were commanded to act swiftly:

וכפל וכן תעשו כולכם בזריזות וחריצות, והוא כהכפל ויעשו בני ישראל ככל אשר צוה ה' את משה...

"The doubling comes to strengthen and accelerate. And the double וְכֵ֖ן תַּעֲשֽׂוּ "so shall you make it" all of you 'deftly and diligently,

וַֽיַּעֲשׂ֖וּ בְּנֵ֣י יִשְׂרָאֵ֑ל כְּ֠כֹל אֲשֶׁ֨ר צִוָּ֧ה ה' אֶת־מֹשֶׁ֖ה

"The Israelites did accordingly, just as Hashem had commanded Moshe, so they did. (Ramban Shemot 25: 9). The people did act quickly and efficiently:

הנה ביום אחד הביאו כל הנדבה הזאת... והזכיר הכתוב מרבים העם להביא, לשבח את העם המביאים בנדבתם

"Everything that was donated on the first day was brought before Moshe… until they came and informed him that more than enough had been donated already. The people are bringing too much. This is related in order to praise the people for their generosity". (Ramban Shmot 36:3).

הכתוב יורה זריזותם של ישראל כי הביאו הנדבה בזריזות ובחריצות

"This verse describes the eagerness with which the Jewish people responded to Moshe's request, and how they brought their respective gifts immediately" (Rabbeinu Bahya Shemot 35:20).

The very construction of the Mishkan was also prompt and speedy. Moshe commanded the children of Israel to build the Tabernacle as soon as he descended from Mount Sinai at the end of Yom Kippur. Less than three months later, its construction had already been completed!

בעשרים וחמשה בכסליו נגמרה מלאכת המשכן ועשה מקופל עד אחד בניסן

"On the twenty-fifth of Kislev the utensils and all parts of the Tabernacle were finished, and it was stored and kept folded until the 1st of Nissan, when they built it". (Pesikta Rabbati, Parasha 6 Piskah 5).

This is without a doubt the finest degree of agility: "And it is known that the agile in matters of Torah and Mitzvot, is also agile in correcting his virtues, where he rises from merit to merit and from level to level". (Rabbeinu Bahya introduction to Parashat Trumah)

The demand for speed and efficiency in our generation is favorable in certain areas. It is the driving force behind the great achievements we have had in our generation. I wish it would exist in all things that seek rapid change. On the other hand, it must not come in a place that requires thorough and lengthy process management, which requires a long specialization and a lot of patience. Now!

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