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ואשא אתכם על כנפי נשרים

And (how) I carried you on wings of eagles. (19:4)

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It is nothing short of amazing to observe how someone who had been introduced to Torah late in his life is able to grasp its profundities and, in almost no time, to grow in Torah to the point that it is almost difficult to believe that he had not been learning all of his life. How does this occur? Horav Simchah Wasserman, zl, attributes this transformation to being carried “on the wings of eagles.” Hashem sees a Jew who is sincere about his learning, who wants to grow in Torah, and He raises him up, so to speak, on the wings of eagles, granting him the ability to soar like never before. One cannot do it alone. With the support of Hashem, no challenge is insurmountable, no obstacle impedes one’s growth.

This is how Jews of the generation that was liberated from Egypt were able, in the space of seven weeks, to go from being lowly slaves to accepting the Torah from Hashem Himself. Hashem helps those who deserve it, who indicate by their sincere endeavor that nothing is more important than growth in Torah. Hashem places them on the “wings of eagles,” and they soar. To obtain a “ticket” for this extraordinary “ride,” one must earn it through devotion, commitment and hard work.

Essentially, like everything in life, it is Hashem Who really transports us. The “eagles” are only a medium by which He carries out His will. Why does the pasuk not simply say, “I will carry you?” Why employ eagles as a vehicle of transport? I think that the eagles are used as a nisayon, test. All too often, we pray for a form of salvation to materialize. Anyone with a modicum of intelligence understands that salvation comes only from Hashem. Yet, we often lose sight of our true Benefactor. In other words, we could be riding on “eagles” and lose sight of Who it really is that is moving us forward/upward. Hashem says to us: “You have come so far to be worthy of siyata diShmaya, Divine Assistance. Do not ruin it by attributing your salvation to the eagles. It is Ani, I, Who is sending and granting power to those eagles.” As long as we do not lose sight of this basic principle, we will encounter no turbulence during our trip.

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