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Parshat Yitro: Freedom from Fallen Fears

by Chaya Rivka Zwolinski

In Parsha Yitro the Jews are standing at Mount Sinai at Matan Torah, the giving of the Torah. They are overwhelmed with awe and fear. They say to Moshe: “You speak with us, and we will hear, but don’t let God speak to us, because we’ll die.” (Exodus, 20:16)

Moshe says to them: Don’t be afraid! Hashem came only to lift you up and in order that His awesome fear shall be upon your faces, so that you won’t transgress. (Exodus, 20:17)

On the one hand Moshe Rabbeinu is telling the Jews don’t be afraid. On the other hand, he is telling them that fear of Hashem will be on their faces. Don’t we have enough fear in our lives?

Rebbe Nachman explains in Likutey Moharan that when we fear things in this world, when we have a phobia, or when we have worry about a financial situation that keeps us up at night, or when we’re afraid of an illness (God forbid), or when we’re afraid of anything in this world – this fear we have is a fallen fear.

But when we have  “Yiras Hashem”, a tremendous, holy awesome fear of Hashem, (like the awesome fear which Moshe said would be upon our faces when we stood at Sinai), then we are not as much afraid in this world. As a matter of fact, if we have this holy fear of Hashem, we can eliminate other fears in most cases.

This awesome fear of Hashem is a rectified fear. We feel awe and tremble at the holy power of the Source of our lives, yet this fear lifts us up and infuses us with the courage to live our lives.

May you have a day where you are brave and courageous.

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