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Dvar for Vaetchanan (Deuteronomy 3:23-7:11)

Moshe recounts the Jewish people’s feeling apprehensive and overwhelmed by G-d’s Presence at Har Sinai (Mount Sinai), thus asking Moshe to receive the Torah on their behalf. G-d acquiesced, saying, “I wish that their hearts were theirs to fear Me and to keep My commandments all the days…” (5:26). What is the meaning of G-d’s statement in the context of receiving the Torah through Moshe?

Oznaim LaTorah suggests that G-d is expressing the significance of the people’s ability to dictate to their hearts what they should feel. In contrast with evil characters such as Eisav and Haman, who did what their heart desired, the Jewish people demonstrated mastery over their emotions. This emotional intelligence served the people well and practicing it today would enable us to navigate life’s many challenges successfully.