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Morning Blessings-Mishpatim-Emerging From Smallness

It is written that before the Torah was given on Sinai, “They stood beneath the mountain (Exodus 19:17).” Our sages teach us that God tipped the mountain over them like a barrel and said, “If you accept the Torah, good; if not, this will be your grave (Shabbat 88a).” The question remains, why did God have to tip the mountain over them? They had already declared, “We will do and we will listen (Exodus 24:7).”


I heard from my master the Baal Shem Tov that God tipped the mountain over them to teach us that even if a person does not have any desire for Torah and worship, he is still not free to neglect them. He must force himself, and imagine that he is actually being coerced to do these things against his will.

This is very good advice when a person is in a state of Smallness and Constricted Consciousness. He will not neglect to engage in study and worship, even when he has no desire to do so . Then at least, he will have the deed. (Ben Porat Yosef 66)

“Attach us to the Good Inclination and to good deeds and compel our Evil Inclination to be subservient to You.”  We are asking God to give us the strength to emerge from our state of Smallness and Constricted Consciousness by battling the Evil Inclination when it prevents us from connecting to our desire for Torah and worship.

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