ה‘ דִּבֶּר אֵלֵינוּ, בְּחֹרֵב לֵאמֹר: רַב-לָכֶם שֶׁבֶת בָּהָר הַזֶּה. (דברים א:ו)
You have dwelt long enough on this mountain.
The Targum Yonasan Ben Uziel explains this pasuk by telling us of all the great things which we received at Har Sinai. In describing the gifts that were given to Klal Yisrael at that time, he uses the words: וְאִתְהַנִי לְכוֹן עַד הָאִידְנָא (I have benefited you until now). The targum gives a list of the benefits, including the Torah, the Mishkan, etc.
We are familiar with Rashi in Parshas Beha’aloscha that tells us that the Jews ran away from Har Sinai like a child released from school. This is generally understood that they considered the Torah a burden and that is why they were running away from the possibility of receiving more. But from the Targum we see that they received many things that they enjoyed (וְאִתְהַנִי). This is like a child in school, who when asked if he is enjoying school, may answer in an animated way about how wonderful his teachers are and the multitude of friends that he has. He may even comment that he enjoys the learning. Yet, when the bell rings at the end of the day, he bolts from the classroom as if running from an attacking snake. What is the reason behind this? He seemingly enjoys school, yet runs away at the end of the day?
Parshas Devarim, which is always read the Shabbos before Tisha B’Av, contains in it the transgressions of Bnei Yisrael while they were in the Midbar. These infractions recurred after they entered Eretz Yisrael, and eventually resulted in the exile from the land. The most famous expression, which points to a recurrence of the same infractions, is found in the words אֵיכָה אֶשָּׂא לְבַדִּי. Moshe Rabbeinu says “eicha” and the medrash tells us that this was the basis and root of all the “eicha’s” throughout the generations. Included in Moshe’s complaint of eicha, are the words of Yonason Ben Uziel, “v’is’hani” – that you have benefited and enjoyed that which you received. Moshe was complaining that Klal Yisrael seemed to ignore the good they received.
It seems to me that this is called “childishness.” A student’s mature side can evaluate a situation and conclude that it is a happy one. Yet the childish side sees only the boredom of the classroom and the confinement of the school. In other words, immaturity means not appreciating everything within the larger picture.
Hashem demands of us to not only understand and appreciate all the good that He has given us, but that this good should cause us to be excited and live in an animated way with the Torah and Mitzvos. This lack of enthusiasm on an emotional level is what Moshe Rabbeinu bemoaned in this week’s parsha, and this is what Yirmiyahu bemoaned hundreds of years later. If we only looked at the big picture—how our lives are enriched through Torah and Mitzvos—we would live life with much more life.
This Shabbos Chazon we have “shavas” (the first Kinnah said on Tisha B’Av day starts off with the word “שבת.“ There it means “everything came to a standstill”). The day of Shabbos reflects the dramatic change from creation (during the week) to rest. On this Shabbos, which is actually the day of Tisha B’Av, the word shavas is that much more meaningful. This Shabbos in particular, if we become truly excited by observing Shabbos, we will have moved forward in removing the complaint of eicha, bringing us closer to Hashiveinu Hashem Eleicha.