"The main problem is that you ask yourself 'how much have I accomplished thus far,' instead of asking yourself, 'how much more can I accomplish.' You see, it's not that 'the sky is not the limit.' Rather, the sky is the launchpad of your lives.

Rabbi Allouche

At the ripe age of 80, Moses went on a hike. 

In this week’s portion, we read how G-d commands Moses to embark on a physically challenging expedition and hike to the peak of Mount Sinai, to receive the Torah on behalf of our nation. 

The physical effort must have been enormous for his elderly body. So why couldn’t our all-powerful G-d descend a few more feet, instead of making one of our history’s foremost leaders climb up?

The answer is compelling. Yes, G-d could have easily come down all the way to the valleys of the Sinai desert to greet Moses and give him the Torah. But that would have defeated the very purpose of the Torah itself. For the Torah was given to us to make us climb, and grow. 

This is why G-d asked Moses to meet Him at the peak of the mountain. This was His Divine way of saying to Moses, and to all of humanity, that, in order to connect to G-d we too must actively ascend toward Him. And so long as we can – and in spite of the fears, the doubts, and the naysayers – we ought to muster the courage to ascend, to break through our psychological and spiritual barriers, to exercise self-control, to change a terrible habit, and to do a Mitzvah.

I recall the day as if it was yesterday. My beloved mentor, Rabbi Adin Even-Israel Steinsaltz of blessed memory, walked into our classroom at his Makor Chaim High-School in Jerusalem, and, with passion and love, he spoke to us these fiery words, that are left ringing in my ears: 

“The main problem is that you ask yourself ‘how much have I accomplished thus far,’ instead of asking yourself, ‘how much more can I accomplish.’ 

You see, it’s not that ‘the sky is not the limit.’ Rather, the sky is the launchpad of your lives. Doing your best is not good enough. I know this may not sound like a recipe for an easy and comfortable life, but it is my expression of great hope. And it comes from my belief that people do not just have stomachs, but they also have wings with which to fly. 

I would want for my students to take upon themselves what may seem as an undefined resolution, yet it is, nonetheless, very concrete. I would call this resolution: “one step forward.” Wherever you are in your life journeys, please, I ask you, take one step forward.”

Indeed, let us ascend our mountains of life, by taking one step forward each and every day. G-d and His abundant blessings, will then undoubtedly await us, at the summit of our every climb. Amen.