"Israel encamped there facing the mountain." (Ex. 19:2)

The verb "encamped" appears here in the singular, prompting Rashi to note:

"They encamped there as one man, with one heart [desire]. Every other encampment included the natural petty jealousies or arguments, but in this one instance, the entire Jewish nation was truly united." (Midrash Mechilta)

A person cannot hope to become a vessel for G‑d's Torah unless he truly loves his fellow…

The obvious lesson, of course, is that a person cannot hope to become a vessel for G‑d's Torah unless he truly loves his fellow. G‑d's presence cannot dwell amongst discord and fighting. Only when the Jewish people were at peace with one another could they achieve harmony with G‑d, as well, and attain the degree of spirituality necessary to receive His Torah.

There is, however, another lesson to be derived: The Jews united in this case because they were "facing the mountain" - already under the influence of Torah. G‑d created every person as an individual - with different intellect and emotions, characteristics and opinions. Naturally, there really is no way they can truly get along, i.e. maintain their individuality and differences and still be able to completely unite. This can be only if they are "facing the mountain", meaning totally devoid of ego and focused in anticipation on receiving G‑d's word that all their petty differences pale in significance. The differences are still there; indeed, it is the combination of all those varied approaches that create the synergy and energy demanded of their collective divine service. But the common devotion to G‑d's will transforms those differences into a stepping-stone to rather than a barrier.

[Adapted by Moshe-Yaakov Wisnefsky from Likutei Sichot, vol. 11, pp. 250; Copyright 2001 chabad of california / www.lachumash.org