[Editor’s note: As a memory of my beloved brother Shaya, I would like to continue sending out his pearls of wisdom that he has shared with all of you in the past. For some of you this may ring a bell and for others it may appear to be totally new. May the learning of Shaya’s Divrei Torah inspire us to change our ways and thereby give an Aliya to the neshama of our dear beloved Shaya whom we miss so much. A special thank you to Aaron Friedman for always looking over the divrei torah.]
Parshas Beha’aloscha tells the story of the nation beginning to complain a lot in the Midbar. Hashem responds by giving Moshe the Seventy Elders to help lead Klal Yisrael.
Why was Klal Yisroel complaining, and what is the significance of the Seventy Elders to deal with their complaining?
Rav Yonah Sklare explains that they complained because they felt stifled and constrained in their covenant with Hashem. They felt the intensity of it was too much for them. Hence, Hashem gave them the Seventy Elders. Seventy is the number that symbolizes individuality. There are seventy diverse nations and languages. There are seventy approaches to Torah.
Hashem was telling them that the way out of feeling constrained is to find in Torah a specific path where you can express your individuality. He was telling them, ‘Choose a specific Rav from amongst the Seventy Elders that you would like to develop a close relationship with and emulate.’
The lesson is clear: we must keep the Halacha even if some of the Halachos are difficult, but the way out of feeling constrained is to express our individuality in our Torah life; be it through a special relationship with a specific Rav or mentor, a specific approach to Torah learning that speaks more to us, or a specific Mitzva that we would like to excel in.[Editor’s note: Perhaps an additional lesson that can be learned is the concept of accepting Jews from other backgrounds. We must realize that just as among the Goyim there are seventy nations, so too in regards to the Jewish People, there are 12 tribes. Each tribe has its own way of serving Hashem. Each person has their own role in life in how to serve Hashem. If we come to this recognition, then that will bring Moshiach much closer and we will merit to greet Moshiach in our days.]
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