Rabbi Milevsky's Thought of the Week: Yisro - 5779
In Pareshat Yitro, the people of Israel arrive at the mountain that gave them their identity - Har Sinai.
The Torah notes that "They journeyed from Rephidim and arrived at the wilderness of Sinai.” The rabbis share with us a tradition that Rephidim is an allusion to the word RAF-slacking. In other words, we are being told that the stop before Sinai was at a location where they abated in their Torah study, resulting in the attack from Amalek.
The best way to learn about anything is through contrast. The magnificent blue sky can only be appreciated after a long period of overcast skies. So too, when the Torah is attempting to convey the importance of the teachings we received at Sinai, it cites Rephidim, a place - and attitude - where commitment was lacking, and consequently an understating of how important Torah is for our survival.