Words from the Wilderness
As we begin this Shabbat to read our weekly portions in Chumash Bamidbar, and prepare for Shavuot as the Festival of the Giving of the Torah, we cannot overlook the relationship between the word bamidbar — in the wilderness — and the fact that the Torah was given to our people in the wilderness of Sinai.
Many explanations have been offered as to the significance of the Torah being given to us outside of Eretz Yisrael and removed from civilization. One of these focuses on the need to separate Torah from nationalism.
In all their years of exile Jews steadfastly lived Torah lives despite the lack of a country to call their own. In their geographic wilderness they realized that Torah was their true homeland and fervently prayed for the opportunity to live a full Torah life in the land promised to them by the Giver of the Torah.
How sadly ironic it is that Torah-observant Jews are a minority in the Jewish State of our days. On the other hand it is gratifying to see the exciting growth of Torah-true Jewry in Israel. Perhaps the Divine voice heard at Sinai this week 3319 years ago will reverberate in the hearts of all Jews and secure Israel forever.