The upcoming Yom Tov of Shavuos commemorates מעמד הר סיני. The פסוק mentions that at that time, וכל העם רואים את הקולות, the people saw the sound of thunder. Rashi comments that at the time of מתן תורה the people “saw that which was audible, which is impossible to see elsewhere.” Why did Hashem perform this seemingly unnecessary miracle?
Rav Moshe Feinstein, זצ“ל, explains that Hashem wished to teach בני ישראל how to properly approach לימוד התורה. R’ Moshe stresses that it isn’t enough to have a superficial understanding of תורה. We must strive with all our energies and intellect to understand the תורה clearly as if it is in front of our eyes! The lesson from the thunder is that the common ability to hear thunder represents the simple level of understanding Torah. The miraculous ability to “see” the thunder represents a higher level of understanding for which we should strive. This is the proper approach to לימוד תורה.
R’ Moshe emphasizes that while this approach is the proper path for every בן תורה, it is especially important for those whose responsibility it is to teach others. Not only מחנכים, but parents also need to reach this level of clarity in their understanding of תורה. Only when true clarity is achieved can we transmit תורה in an equally clear manner.
As parents, we have a responsibility to transmit the Torah to our children in a clear manner most appropriate for their age and intellect. Please make sure to set aside time to learn with your child over Shavuos. By reviewing what they’ve learned with simchah, and perhaps by exploring other limudim with them, you will leave your child with a valuable Shavuos memory.
Rabbi Gidon Goldberg
Head of School
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