By Rabbi Yonah Burr
Rav Yehoshua Ben Levi said: Every statement that Hashem uttered at Har Sinai brought along with it a fragrance that completely filled the world. The Gemara asks, if the fragrant of the first statement completely filled the world, how was there room for a second? The Gemara explains that Hashem then whisked the fragrance away into Gan Eden, to make room for the second.
Rav Yehoshua Ben Levi said: With every statement that Hashem uttered, our souls left our bodies. The Gemara again asks, if our souls left our bodies with the first statement, how were we able to accept a second? The Gemara answers, Hashem took out His special dew and revived us.
Rav Yehoshua Ben Levi says again: Wth every statement of Hashem, the Jewish People were thrust back twelve kilometers, the length of the entire camp. Again, the Gemara explains that Hashem sent merciful angels to gently bring us back, in order to receive the next statement. (Shabbos 88b)
The message of the Gemara seems to be clear. Each and every statement of Torah, each and every mitzva, each and every Torah thought, is enough to completely fill the world with a spiritual fragrance. So much that a miracle was necessary, simply to allow room for more. Each mitzva is already enough to completely overwhelm us, and it is only because Hashem connects it with the eternity of Gan Eden, and revives us with the dew of the future resurrection, that we have the capacity to accept another.
The Torah is the word of Hashem, timeless, eternal, and unlimited. Naturally, it would be impossible for a mere mortal to receive it, let alone absorb it, and it is only through the special help of Hashem that we have the capacity to fulfill it.
Where did we receive the merit to be the beneficiaries of this awesome gift? Through our declaration of נעשה ונשמע - our unwavering faith that anything and everything that Hashem asks of us inherently includes the ability to fulfill it.
Every challenge we face, and every test we are given, includes the strength to pass it, and grow from it.
The Mishna teaches us, ‘Hashem wants to merit the Jewish People, He therefore gave them an abundance of Torah and Mitzvos’. (end of tractate Makkos)
How does an abundance of Mitzvos bring us merit?
The Rambam in his commentary to the Mishna explains this beautifully. As we have seen in the gemara, each and every mitzva is eternal, and enough to fill the entire world. The only reason there is even room for another is because Hashem places it and connects it to Gan Eden- it is connected to eternity.
Declares the Rambam, if a Jew fulfills even one mitzva properly, in its entirety, without any ulterior motive, that act is a spiritual, eternal act. Eternity is eternal, beyond our comprehension, and can’t be quantified. One Mitzvah is enough to merit the entire world to come! Hashem in His unlimited kindness gave us so many mitzvos, to ensure that every single Jew will fulfill at least one properly. This is our ticket to eternity, to the world to come! Fortunate are we that we are given so many opportunities for eternity, and we are given the special Yom Tov of Shavuos to rededicate ourselves to this ideal every year!
Have a wonderful Yom Tov!