PARSHAT BAMIDBAR: A DESERT EXPERIENCE PRIOR TO MATAN TORAH
By Sherrie B. Miller
Parshat Bamidbar is read annually the Shabbat prior to Shavuot.
Why is the so?
According to the Sfat Emet, if one wishes to merit being “wed” to the Almighty,
one must see himself as a desert. One must possess the trait of modesty, and remember
that there is no one to whom he must boast. One ought to feel the simplicity and
minimalism of the desert in complete surrender to Hashem.
Humility is further emphasized in Hashem’s choice of Sinai Mountain particularly,
as it was the lowest of all the mountains in the desert. As is true in all areas
of Judaism, balance is the aim. The root of Midbar, daled, bet, raish, means leadership.
We must humbly seek to fulfill our unique and distinctive mission in the world to
the best of our G-d given abilities. We must not fear tapping into our capabilities
and reaching for the stars. Surrender to the Will of Hashem, coupled with determination
and commitment are vital in accepting the Torah and in a long lasting and strong
Rebbe Meir Shapiro states that the Torah was given through three mediums: fire,
water and the desert.
Fire was used to bring out the deep devotion of Avraham to Hashem in the fiery furnace.
Nachshon ben Aminadav and after him all of Israel, jumped into the waters of Yam
Suf, pursued by the Egyptians, showing their dedication and belief in Hashem. Finally,
in the desert, the Jews showed their constant and relentless commitment to Hashem
by following Him for forty years in the desolate desert!
The Shabbat before Shavot, Matan Torah, we must go through the Midbar, a metaphor
indicating our self-effacement and modesty. The Midbar, is a call to leadership
and being an example of a G-d fearing Jew.
Midbar also contains the word “dibur,” speech. We must remember to speak humbly
and use our words carefully. Each “milah” (word) should be turned into a yahalom,
a precious diamond, by thinking before we speak! Communication is the key to intimacy!
Then the final result, using the same root letters of Midbar: will be our achievement
of dvir, kedusha.
Healthy relationships require the midbar experience: humility balanced with leadership,
good communication, and above all, commitment! This will ensure a life of sanctity
Sherrie B. Miller is a Jewish Matchmaker
on SawYouAtSinai.com and works with
Jewish Singles all over the world. She is an educational guidance counselor,
group leader, pre-marital coach, matchmaker and Judaic Studies teacher. Sherrie
is dedicated to promoting and enhancing emotional intelligence and communication
skills in conjunction with Torah values.
Sherrie received her educational counseling degree from the Michlalah in Bayit Vegan
and an M.A. in Education and Counseling from Touro College, Jerusalem, Israel. Sherrie
also holds a B.A. in Speech Pathology and Audiology from Brooklyn College and a
B.Sc. from Yeshiva University in Jewish Education. Sherrie is certified by Midreshet
Emunah and is accredited by the Rabbanut of Israel, to be a pre-marital couple’s
counselor and Kallah teacher.
Before coming to Israel in 1989 from Great Neck, New York, Sherrie taught Judaic
Studies at the North Shore Hebrew Academy. Sherrie also educated affiliated and
unaffiliated adults through the “Project Identity” outreach program under the directorship
of Rabbi Yaakov Lerner. Sherrie trained individuals and couples in the laws of Kashrut,
Guidelines of Parenting, Parshat Shavua and Pirkei Avot.
In her work as a Guidance Counselor in the national religious “Mamad” school, "Yehuda
Halevi", Sherrie instructed life skill workshops to students, parents and teachers,
with a focus on communication, conflict resolution and anger management. She also
leads support groups for children of divorce.
Sherrie is certified by the Life Center and leads Parenting workshops based on the
Faber/Mazlish workshops on, “How To Talk So Kids Will Listen and Listen So Kids
Sherrie is an executive board member of the Emunah World Zionist Organization, Mibreishit,
led by Rav Motti Alon, and Nishmat led my Rabbanit Hanna Henkin.
Sherrie’s diverse background in counseling and teaching, combined with torah principles
and values contribute to the depth and quality of her success with clients. Lessons
drawn from her own life transitions make her coaching perspective uniquely inspirational.
Sherrie helps individuals clarify their goals and take masterful action steps to
reach them. Sherrie is professionally known for her guidance in the educational
system as well as her outstanding capabilities teaching interpersonal relationship
skills to groups and individuals.
Having made a number of successful matches resulting in marriage, Sherrie volunteers
as a matchmaker for SawYouAtSinai, an internet matchmaking site.