“They have departed quickly – Saru – from the way that I commanded them, they have made for themselves a molten calf.” (Exodus 32:8) God uses Saru to describe the sin of the Golden Calf. The Seforno explains that Saru means that the people turned away from God before He finished giving them the Torah.
Imagine that you are reaching into your pocket for a dollar to give to a panhandler and he turns away and leaves just as you are about to give him the money. He turned away from receiving what he wanted. He hurt himself.
God was about to give us the Tablets as a sign of His covenant with us. He was lifting us to unparalleled heights, and just as Moshe was coming down from Sinai with the Tablets, we turned away and rejected the gift and all those that preceded it.
There are times when we have been working at a Torah text and we turn away in frustration before we can understand the text. We work at relationships and turn away just before things were about to break through.
“Because they turned away – Saru – from following Him, and they did not understand any of His ways.” (Job 34:27) Rashi reads this verse as: ‘Because they turned away from following Him, and they brought before Him and upon Him the cry of the poor.’
We often turn away from a Mitzvah because we do not understand it.
We often turn away from positive and powerful experiences because we do not understand them: We are having an intense prayer, feeling an unusual connection with God, and, because the feelings are unfamiliar, we turn away frightened by the intensity of the experience.
We hear or learn a beautiful thought and are excited by it, but leave the class or study hall and forget what we learned.
We have a spiritual moment; a magnificent sunset, a great sense of accomplishment, a joyous moment with our children, and then we turn away and quickly get ‘back to life’ without treasuring that moment.
Treasuring spiritual moments.
Incorporating new insights and lessons into our lives, learning and prayer.