04 Aug The Nature of Moshe Rabbeinu’s Receiving the Torah
Four times a year we read in the Torah about ma’amad har Sinai: on Shabbos when we lein the parshas of Yisro, V’eschanan, and Eikev, and on Shavuos. According to the Ramban in his commentary on the Torah, this constitutes a special mitzvah min ha’torah, just like parshas Zachor, to read the narrative of ma’amad har Sinai once a year. The Magen Avraham (Hilchos Ahava Rabba) points out that the Yalkut Shimoni says this as well.
In Tehillim (68:19) the receiving of the Torah by Moshe Rabbeinu on top of Har Sinai is described in three contradictory ways. The possuk starts off “Olisa la’morom”, that Moshe Rabbeinu went up to the heavens; “shovisa shevi”, he captured the Torah as one would grab the spoils of war; “lokachta”, he took the Torah from Hakodosh Boruch Hu like one who purchases an item from someone else; “matonos”, the Torah was given to Moshe Rabbeinu by Hakodosh Boruch Hu as a gift. The Bais Ha’levi (in his commentary on parshas Yisro) points out that the victor in the war marches off with the spoils of the enemy against the wishes of the enemy; in the case of one who purchases an item from someone else we require both da’as makneh as well as da’as koneh, because the purchaser has to agree to pay some amount of money to acquire ownership of the item; and in the case of matonah, a gift, the nosain ha’matoneh accomplishes the kinyan with his own da’as and does not require any da’as on the part of the one who receives the matonah.
The Bais Ha’levi explains, based on the gemorah in Megilah, that if someone says yo’gati u’motzosi, I worked hard in learning and I succeeded, you should believe him. Even if the person is not that observant, and even if his middos are not up to par, if a person works hard on learning, he will succeed in understanding the text even if it is against the wishes of Ha’kodosh Boruch Hu, and even if he does not deserve to be successful in learning, similar to the victor in war who walks off with the spoils against the wishes of the rightful owner.
However, the gemorah continues to say that in order to be successful in learning to the extent that he will be able to pasken a shailah properly, this is like one who purchases an item from someone else, where we would require s’yaita d’Shmaya on the part of Hakodosh Baruch Hu . The yegiyah on the part of the one who learns represents the da’as ha’lokeach, and the s’yaita d’shmaya on the part of the Ribbono Shel Olam represents the da’as makneh.
The braisa in the sixth perek of Pirkei Avos tells us that there is even a higher level of learning that can be attained. One who learns Torah in a pure fashion, l’shmoh, will be zocheh to become like a ma’ayon ha’misgaber, and from heaven they will reveal to him the “secrets of the Torah”. This third level of success in learning Torah is what the Sefer Tehillim refers to as “matonos”, where all that is needed is the da’as makneh, and there is no need for da’as koneh at all. The gemorah tells us that the reason why the psak of a talmid chochom is binding is based on the posuk in Tehillim (25:14) “Sod Hashem l’yiraov”, that G-D will reveal the secrets of the Torah to those who fear him. Unfortunately, we sometimes meet talmidei chachomim who lack yiras Shomayim and although they have accomplished the first level of learning, they will be lacking the second level and certainly this third level.