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Parshat Yitro - Living with Hashem

By: Mrs. Miri Kwalwasser

This week’s parsha, contains one of the most basic and significant tenets of Judaism:

אנכי ה' אלוקיך - I am Hashem, your God

This was a pivotal moment in which Hashem revealed Himself to the nation by communicating directly with them, rather than through Moshe.  It was through these words that Hashem chose to introduce Himself to the Jewish people. Many commentaries discuss a fundamental question regarding this pronouncement, why does Hashem choose to introduce Himself as the Redeemer from Egypt rather than as Creator of the world?

It seems to me that Hashem wants our association with Him to go far beyond that of Creator and that we recognize the interest He takes in us a nation and as individuals. A Creator denotes a one-time involvement with the world and leaves room for skepticism regarding His continued participation with worldly affairs. On the other hand, as Redeemer, He clarifies this central principle. Just as He led the Jewish people into and out of Egyptian bondage so too He is involved in every individual’s encounters and experiences. Each situation handed to us in life is meant to shape our existence and promote spiritual growth and achievement by recognizing God’s hand.

The Torah, up to this point, has made us aware of the reality that He created the world in which we live.  Now, we are told that if we want to maximize our potential and benefit from what the world has to offer we must live with Hashem and follow His lead. As we know, life is usually not simple and it is far too easy to lose your way in this complex and confusing world. Throughout our lives, we are faced with countless choices and challenges that must be overcome. Hashem’s goal is to give us constant guidance and support, but that is only possible if we welcome His hand and trust His infinite wisdom. 

I recently met with an alumnus of Midreshet Amit, who is currently studying at a University.  As she spoke about the challenges she is facing in her Jewish observance on campus, she mentioned that she feels so fortunate to have developed a real connection to Hashem and Torah during her year at Amit.  She noticed how so many of her Jewish piers lack the religious clarity and spiritual direction that is so invaluable to her.

According to the Sefer HaChinuch, there are 6 constant mizvoth that can be fulfilled at every conscious moment of our day.  The first of these Mitzvoth is “אנוכי ה' ”.  When we embrace the fact that Hashem is real and we infuse our every thought and action with that reality, our daily lives are filled with meaning and true beauty and our accomplishments will far exceed the limited time and space of this world.  May we all merit such fulfillment.