In this week’s Parasha, Parashat Yitro, we reach a significant event in the Torah; it is this week that we read about the Giving of the Tablets and the Ten Commandments. The giving of the Ten Commandments, also known as “The Revelation at Sinai'' is one of the most important events in Jewish history as G-d reveals Himself to the entire nation. This is the first and only recorded time when G-d spoke and revealed himself to millions of people at once, rather than to a single prophet like Moses. As we can imagine, such a breathtaking occurrence made it hard for the people of Israel to stand the magnitude of the event. This is why only the first two commandments were told to them directly by G-d and the rest came through Moses. Despite not hearing every commandment from G-d himself, the Revelation at Sinai remains the foundation of Jewish faith and its values. Thousands of years of Jewish study and upkeep of Jewish law places emphasis on the significance of the event. According to the Midrash, the revelation was made not only to members of the Jewish nation who actually left Egypt themselves but to all the souls of the Jews who were still not yet born.
Perhaps, like much of the Torah portion, this can serve as an essential metaphor to increase meaning in our lives. G-d specifically chose to address the entire nation and announce the commandments, rather than choosing an elite group of people with whom to share
the message.. This emphasizes the equality between all in the Jewish nation, whether men, women, or children, young or old, they all had a sense of collective duty to follow these commandments and pass these values onto the next generation. Moreover, it prompts the nation to recognize that all are equal in G-d’s eyes, and are judged based on their individual actions rather than their gender or status.
Last week we commemorated the International Holocaust Memorial Day. Students learned, discussed, and remembered the extraordinary survivors and the horrible experiences that they suffered. As at Siani, the responsibility of carrying the message on is not only on the shoulders of our prophets, parents or teachers. It is also our duty to carry and spread the tragic stories of the Holocaust and remember the lost lives of the six million.
Aviv, Grade 11