This week we begin the book of Bamidbar also known as the book of Numbers (sefer hapkudim). Once again the Jews were counted and the tribes were encamped in groups each carrying their own flag, surrounding the holy Mishkan.
The Medrash on this weeks portion states: The Torah was given in fire, in water and in the desert.
Reb Meir Shapiro (Lublin) explains this Medrash as follows. There's a pattern of the Klal Yisroel (the Jewish nation), from the day of our existence to be ready under any circumstances for selfless devotion and sacrifice for G-d's name. Jews went into fire in Auschwitz with Shma Yisroel on their lips, Jews were also murdered during the Spanish inquisition for not wanting to give up their faith. Many more examples can be given, where Jews were forced to give up their lives for the sake of their faith.
This inner strength comes from three historic events. Fire - Avrohom Avinu was thrown into fire, for not having accepted Nimrod's idolatry. One may think that this is an act of an individual, therefore we take the following example. Water - an entire nation accepted G-d's decree to move into the (Red) sea. Now one might take this for granted as well, thinking that this was only a temporary bravery, not long term, to this the answer is. In the DESERT - jews followed Hashem's command and guidance forty years in the desert, not questioning the wilderness (snakes and scorpions ...).
It is thanks to these three tests of fire water and desert, with which Jews proved themselves to receive the Torah as an eternal gift.
Our selfless devotion as our eternal guarantor.
May we merit to be devoted to the path of Torah and Mitzvohs in good faith at all times.
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