After Matan Torah, Hashem asked Moshe to re-ascend the mountain. The wording, “Ascend to Me, to the mountain, and be there” seems superfluous. Rabbi Yechezkel of Kuzmir asked, “Why was it necessary to say, 'and be there’?" Of course, if Moshe were to ascend, he would be there!
A person is wherever his thoughts are. If one finds himself in an unholy place, yet fills his mind with thoughts of Torah and of Hashem, then he is indeed in a very holy place. And, conversely, if one is in a place of extreme קדושה, yet his mind is filled with mundane thoughts, then he is not where he thinks he is. Hashem was telling Moshe: "When you ascend the mountain, leave your earthly concerns behind. Be there - in mind and body."
It is interesting to consider what "foreign thoughts" Moshe Rabbeinu might have had. Perhaps Hashem was concerned that Moshe's thoughts might wander to his “business” - Klal Yisroel rather than fully focused on קבלת התורה. Even such thoughts, however proper, had no place at Har Sinai. There is a time to worry about the nation, and a time to set aside those worries and concentrate exclusively on understanding the Torah. Hashem wanted Moshe to be there.
For example, the Shulchan Aruch states, "It is אסור to perform other tasks while making a brochoh" One who does other things while making a brochoh demonstrates a lack of kovod and significance for what he is doing, and for whom he does it. It is evidently not important enough for him to give it his full concentration.
If we just tried to do the things we do every day with all our concentration, to really daven when we daven, learn when we learn, bentch when we bentch, how much richer and fuller our lives would be. If we would give our full attention to our children when we are with them, our relationship would be much stronger. Let’s put our business thoughts away, turn off the cell phones, close the laptop, and give our most prized possessions, our children, our full attention.
Rabbi Gidon Goldberg
Head of School