The creation of a nation is a slow process. Our תורה describes the various stages in the creation of עם ישראל, the nation of Israel; first we were the children of Avraham Avinu and of Yitzchak and the family of Yaakov.
The family of Yaakov was forged into עם בני ישראל the People of the Children of Israel during the cruel slavery in Egypt. For the survival of a nation freedom is a basic ingredient. This is provided by יציאת מצרים. The Exodus provided us with the opportunity to forge us into national unity. But this was not enough. We had to proceed to the highest stage of our unique nationhood – to Sinai. On the סדר Seder night we sing happily דיינו it would be enough
אִלוּ קֵרְבָנוּ לִפְנֵי הַר סִינַי, וְלא נַתַן לָנוּ אֶת הַתּורָה. דַּיֵינוּ.
Had He only brought us near Mount Sinai, and not given us the Torah, it could be enough.
This is a strange statement. The entire reason of reaching הר סיני is to worship HaShem by receiving the Torah.
What was דיינו ?
בַּחֹדֶשׁ הַשְּׁלִישִׁי לְצֵאת בְּנֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל מֵאֶרֶץ מִצְרָיִם בַּיּוֹם הַזֶּה בָּאוּ מִדְבַּר סִינָי. וַיִּסְעוּ מֵרְפִידִים וַיָּבֹאוּ מִדְבַּר סִינַי וַיַּחֲנוּ בַּמִּדְבָּר וַיִּחַן שָׁם יִשְׂרָאֵל נֶגֶד הָהָר.
(שמות י'ט: א', ב')
In the third month from the Exodus of the children of Israel from Egypt, on this day, they arrived at the wilderness of Sinai. They journeyed from Rephidim and encamped there in the wilderness, and Israel encamped there, opposite the mountain. The verses start in the plural and include in the singular ויחן שם ישראל. Our sages comment: כאיש אחד, בלב אחד. They were as one, united.
This was an important ingredient for the creation of a nation; unity of will and purpose. This was preparing the hearts and the minds for receiving the Torah.
The liberation process was completed with מתן תורה. We received our own Divine Law. This is the Law that makes us unique:
(וּשְׁמַרְתֶּם, וַעֲשִׂיתֶם--כִּי הִוא חָכְמַתְכֶם וּבִינַתְכֶם, לְעֵינֵי הָעַמִּים: אֲשֶׁר יִשְׁמְעוּן, אֵת כָּל-הַחֻקִּים הָאֵלֶּה, וְאָמְרוּ רַק עַם-חָכָם וְנָבוֹן, הַגּוֹי הַגָּדוֹל הַזֶּה. (שמות ד', ו'
You shall safeguard and perform them, for it is your wisdom and discernment in the eyes of the people, who shall hear all these decrees and who shall say, surely a wise and discerning people is this great nation.
It is time for all of us to realize that our strength is not in imitating the so called Western values, but in appreciating our own heritage.
חג שבועות שמח