Something To Say

Feb 21st, 2011 by Rabbi Simcha Weinberg in Portion of the Week
“Moses assembles the entire assembly of Israel.” (35:1) Rashi explains that Moshe did not actively assemble the people. He used words to have them gathered.

Which words did he use?

If he said, “Please assemble”, Rashi would not be making an important point. He still gathered them by instructing them to assemble.

It was the day after Yom Kippur, when Moshe had descended from Sinai with the second set of Luchot – Tablets. He brought the people a tangible expression of God’s forgiveness for the sin of the Golden Calf. Everyone understood the significance of these Tablets that replaced the first Luchot that Moshe shattered.

They were ready for the next step. They understood that a new stage had begun. They were waiting, expectantly, for Moshe’s instructions.

All he had to say was, “I have something to say.” They had been waiting for just such words, and the simple phrase was sufficient to gather the people.

It is interesting that this verse introduces the commandment of Shabbat. Perhaps there is a connection between the message of that first Rashi and the message of Shabbat:

We should rush to Shabbat, not because of force or demand, but with the same spirit of expectancy with which the people ran to hear Moshe’s words.

And there’s more…

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