February 9 Candle Lighting 4:3 PM Shabbos Ends 6: PM Note: Times are for Bensalem; Check your local calendar for exact times in your area
This week we read Parshas Yisro. In Parshas Yisro, we read of the giving of the ten commandments. When Hashem told Moses that he was giving the Torah to the Jewish people, he prefaced this by saying Exodus (19:5) “And now if you will listen to my voice, and watch my covenant, you will be for me a treasure from all the nations,…” Why did Hashem say the words And now? What would have been missing if it would have just said If you will listen,…? Our Sages teach us that we learn from here that “kol haschlos kashos” – all beginnings are hard; however if you do accept upon yourself to begin, the Sages add, Yeerav Lachem Mekan Ulehaba – it will become easier for you from now on into the future.
Why was this introduction necessary before the Jews stood at Mount Sinai? Why couldn’t the Jews accept the Torah without hearing this statement?
When a person starts to observe a commandment, there are often roadblocks that come their way. This can give a person discouragement. Perhaps even a person may feel so down that they will stop their climb towards more meaningful observance. This was what Hashem wanted to prevent us from thinking as we approached the acceptance of the Torah. Even before we got the Torah, we had to know that it is normal for a person to have a rough time when they accept something new. But we must realize – if we persevere and follow through, it will get easier!!!! Hopefully this knowledge will guide and help us as we grow from step to step in our level of commitment and observance.