Preparation and Stick-To-It-Tiveness: Keys to Success
Upon reaching Mt Sinai, the Torah tells us that Hashem had a message for Bnei Yisrael:
“And now if you (Bnai yisrael) will listen to Me well, and you shall be for Me the most beloved treasure of all nations….then you shall be to Me a Mamlechet Kohanim and Goy Kadosh (A Kingdom of Priests and a Holy Nation).
Before giving them the Torah, Hashem wants the Jewish People to be aware of the responsibility and opportunity associated with this pivotal moment in history.
The Medrash makes an intriguing comment on Hashem’s statement at this time:
“If you make the commitment now - then from this point on “ye’erav lachem”- it will be good for you- Shekol Hatchalot Kashot- because all beginnings are difficult.
An intriguing Medrash, since the words in the verse make no mention, nor even allusion, to the idea that Bnei Yisrael were somehow experiencing any sort of difficulties at this stage. The Medrash is teaching us something fundamental for anyone looking to accomplish a goal in life: The most worthwhile goals are those that 1) require a long term commitment and 2) begin with difficulties and setbacks.
Last Sunday I completed the Miami Half Marathon. This was my third time finishing and the one lesson that has been highlighted to me each time is the importance of preparation. The more I prepared for the race, the better I would perform on race day.
Kol Hatchalot Kashot: when trying to achieve a goal- whether it be a half marathon or Matan Torah, the beginnings are difficult- but stick-to-it-tiveness is key. We need to be committed for the long haul if we want to accomplish big things in life.
When told of the long term nature of what it meant to accept the Torah, Bnei Yisrael immediately respond: Naasah: we will do. We are committed to the importance of the Torah,are willing to accept the initial difficulties and stick with it.
Hashem then teaches Bnei Yisrael one of the most important ingredients for achieving any long term goal: preparation:
“Hashem says to Moshe ‘go to the people V’kidashtem, and sanctify them, today and tomorrow….. let them be prepared for the third day- the day of the Revelation at Sinai.
Rashi explains that in this context “V’Kidashtam” means Vzeemantam” Moshe should prepare Bnei Yisrael. Preparation is a necessary component in achieving one’s goal. The choice of the word Kidashtam for preparation teaches us something more: preparation and effort put into a goal are holy and valuable in their own right.
This is what Hashem is teaching the Jewish People: Preparation is a necessary step in achieving long term goals. But remember: Kidashtam- that the preparation and one’s ability to stick with commitments; at Matan Torah and for all life goal, can be valuable in their own right.