When Moses came down from Mt. Sinai with the Tablets of the Covenant, he saw how the Jewish people had sinned with the Golden Calf. In reaction, he threw down and broke the Tablets in the sight of all the Jewish People. The Midrash teaches that afterwards, Moses felt bad about having broken the Tablets. G‑d told him, "Don't be regretful! The First Tablets had only the Ten Commandments. The Second tablets, which I will give you, will have much more. Along with the Second Tablets, the Jews will also receive (all of the commentaries, i.e.) explicit Jewish law, Midrash, Agada's, and the entire Oral Torah." Why didn't G‑d include all these with the first set of tablets? Why did G‑d wait to give them until Moses broke the First Tablets?

In order for someone to be ready to receive all of G‑d's Torah, he or she must be humble….

The Lubavitcher Rebbe answers that in order for someone to be ready to receive all of G‑d's Torah, he or she must be humble. True humility means that we understand that every asset we have is a gift from G‑d. Our job is to use these assets properly. When someone is focused on serving G‑d and therefore attains humility, then he or she is fit to receive the Torah. This is as it says in the prayer: "…and my spirit shall be like dust before all; open my heart to Your Torah." Once we become humble like the dust of the earth, then our hearts are ready to accept the Torah.

At the time of the giving of the Torah, G‑d chose the Jews from all the other nations, raising us above all other peoples. The Children of Israel were on an exalted spiritual level. They felt themselves to be very important, but they were lacking the humility required in order to receive the Torah (i.e. "…my spirit shall be like dust before all"). When Moses broke the Tablets for all to see, so, too, the haughty spirit of the Jewish people was broken. True humility filled their hearts, and they immediately became fit to receive all of the Torah - the Tablets as well as the details of Jewish Law and Midrash of the Torah.

G‑d thanked Moses for breaking the Tablets….

This is why G‑d said to Moses, ""May your strength continue for having broken them." (Rashi) It was not just a consolation - G‑d thanked Moses for breaking the Tablets! Through their breaking, Moses caused the Jews to become humble in their own eyes and therefore fit to receive the Torah. From this explanation we can understand why the Ark in the Holy Temple contained the pieces of the first broken set as well as the two whole Second Tablets. For what purpose were the pieces of the First Tablets kept? It was to be a constant reminder to the Jews that in order to receive the Torah, one must have humility, without any arrogance. The next time something not so pleasant happens, think about how the Jewish people felt when the Tablets were broken. Maybe here, too, G‑d is coming to remind us of this lesson. Then, one's heart can be open to the holy Torah.

Shabbat Shalom, Shaul

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