Mountain Time

Categories: Behar, Parsha

Art by Sefira Lightstone


This week’s Parsha, Behar, contains various laws including that of the Sabbatical and Jubilee years. What I would like to focus on, however, is the name of the Parsha. These laws were communicated to Moses on Mt. Sinai, the spot famous for being where the Torah was given. The Parsha’s name is “Behar,” meaning “on the mountain,” showing its significance. But why “on the mountain” if it was such an auspicious one? Why don’t we call this Parsha “Sinai?”
Mt. Sinai as the ideal spot for the giving of the Torah is something that children often learn about. A Midrash (story) commentary states that G-d sought a mountain for this auspicious occasion and the various mountains “competed” to be the most deserving. Think of it as “The Bachelor” for mountains? “I am prettiest,” “I am biggest!” etc. Mt. Sinai, says the Midrash, proclaimed how it really wasn’t worthy of anything; it said it was small and insignificant. G-d therefore chose Sinai to teach the essential importance of humility.
Now let’s take that a step further. Humility? Mountains? If we’re really looking for humility let’s choose a valley or a plain, not a mountain which automatically stands out! Why go there at all?
Therein lies the lesson of this week’s Parsha. Yes, it’s important to have humility but it’s also important to have self worth. You need to stand for something, believe in something and have the courage to speak up for it. Humility is great but, as a friend of mine says, “If you don’t stand for something, you’ll fall for anything.” And that is the lesson of the mountain, one that is quite relevant to us today. Good Shabbos!

Friendship Circle Tribute Book

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Friendship Circle Tribute Book 2023

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