It’s the world’s bestseller. It’s also the most widely distributed book. Some guess it has sold millions, while others estimate it at closer to billions.
It teaches morality and all the dos and don’ts. It can be understood on deep abstract levels as well as on the most practical, down-to-earth planes. It is celestial, while also earthy.
It gives practical guidance to living a higher life, and is the best self-help book ever written.
It, of course, is the Bible.
And this week’s Torah portion, Yitro, is when it all begins. As the Jewish people camp together around the mountain, the stage is set for the giving of the Torah. Even within the setting of this awe-inspiring drama, infinitely important lessons are embedded that can help us understand ourselves and our purpose in our world.
Here are 10 bite-sized nuggets of wisdom that we can apply to our lives from how, where and when the 10 Commandments were given.
- G‑d chose to give the Torah on an elevated mountain. You can elevate your life.
- A mountain is the same dirt as a plain, but has been raised. No matter how dirty your life appears, raise it and make of it a mountain.
- Mount Sinai was a low, unimposing mountain. The gateway to spiritual greatness is humility.
- The Torah was given on a mountain, not a valley. Humility must be complemented by self-assurance.
- The Jewish people were commanded to “make a boundary around the mountain.” Limit self-assurance, so that it doesn’t degenerate into arrogance.
- The Ten Commandments were addressed in the singular form to the whole of the Jewish people; if even one Jew was missing, the Torah could not have been given. You are essential.
- The Ten Commandments were said to individuals, tailored to each person’s spiritual and psychological makeup. You have a unique role and mission.
- The Torah was given to one united people. Only external façades, bodies, separate us. Deep down we are one.
- The Jewish people were “facing the mountain” ready to receive G‑d’s word. If you focus on something higher, petty differences disintegrate.
- At Mount Sinai, heaven and earth, spirituality and physicality touched for the first time. You can bring divine consciousness into this finite physical world.
Wishing you an awesome week,