The daughters of Tzelafchad possessed a passionate love for Eretz Yisrael. The Torah alludes to this love by tracing their genealogy back to Yosef who also displayed this special love by making his brothers take upon themselves an oath that his bones would with be carried with them for burial to Eretz Yisrael (Bereishis 50,25). In recognition of their righteousness, Hashem gave them the honor of being the catalyst for the pronouncement of a new chapter in the Torah dealing with the laws of inheritance. Similarly, the laws of Pesach Sheini were also brought about by those people who were not able to bring the first Korban Pesach since they were tamei mais. In that situation as well we find that a mitzvah that would have been written in the Torah in any case, yet it was initiated because of people who longed for it. Another mitzvah that was initiated by Yisrael was the mitzvah of Sefiras Haomer according to the Medrash brought by the Ran at the end of Meseches Pesachim.
When Yisrael unsolicited began counting excitingly towards the future date of Matan Torah, Hashem transformed their yearning and counting for that momentous occasion into a mitzvah of Sefiras Haomer. Still another initiation that became a mitzvah for Klal Yisrael at that particular time only, was the extra day of Perisha separation and Taharah that Moshe alone commanded Yisrael to do. To Moshe’s initiative, Hashem agreed as evidence of His giving of the Torah after the three days of preparation proposed by Moshe and not after the two days of preparation which He Himself commanded Yisrael.
On each of these four initiations, we find a different segment of Klal Yisrael who were the catalysts. This that Klal Yisrael initiated the mitzvah of Sefirah and it subsequently became part of the Torah is quite understandable. When an entire nation collectively demonstrates a yearning for the Torah, it has lasting impressions. However, when only a small group of Jews get together to plead that it is not fair to miss out on a mitzvah of Korban Pesach, because of which their pleadings become an initiative to bring about a new mitzvah for the entire nation, it’s pretty astounding. Yet an even more earth-shattering initiative that became a narrative of the Torah is a story of these five women who approached Moshe about their father’s inheritance and because of their love for Eretz Yisrael these new laws were written in the Torah. And finally, there is the initiative of Moshe, one man alone, who decided to delay the giving of the Torah one day in order for Yisrael to have an extra day of preparation for Matan Torah. The fact that Hashem agreed to this change of plans by Moshe is mind-boggling. Hashem was well aware that since the time of creation, the entire universe was in nervous anticipation of this coming event for they realized that their continued existence hinged on whether the Torah will be accepted or not. Yet nevertheless, Hashem accepted Moshe’s initiative. What we see from all of this is whether it be Am Yisrael’s collective initiative or a small group of men or women, and even if it is an initiative of one person alone, we have historical testimony that they all possess the ability to have a far-reaching effect on the Torah, and the tide of Jewish History.
The Daf Yomi was the brainstorm of one Yid, and the last Siyum Hashas in NY alone boasted over 100,000 participants. The beginning of the Chassidic Movement was an individual named the Baal Shem Tov, and Chassidim are still flourishing and continue to influence our nation decade after decade. Rav Chaim Volozhin founded the first Litvish Yeshivah and up until today it still remains the mother of all Lithuanian style Yeshivos. The Bais Yaakov Movement was founded by one woman and her group of followers, who changed Jewish Education forever. Artscroll, who printed the Schottenstein translation of Shas was the brainstorm of two individuals, and at the present time, they have grown to be one of the largest if not the largest printer and disseminator of Torah books. The Chashmonaim Group who miraculously defeated the mighty and skilled Greek Army, and who gave us the Yom Tov of Chanukah signifying the last open miracle gifted to Am Yisrael, unbelievably consisted of merely 13 members (Devarim 31,12 Rashi).
Every Yid must believe in himself that with Hashem’s help, he can make a difference in the advancement of bringing the final geulah. This can be seen from the word אמן which means emunah, which contains the acronym of the three testimonies of the three categories who equaled Am Yisrael’s power in leaving to Klal Yisrael a legacy from their initiatives. The letter א stands for אנשים a chaburah of men, the letters נ in the first letter of נשים a chaburah of woman, and the letter מ is the first letter of משה who represents the single individual.
Even the word אני which conveys belief in oneself also alludes to the four categories of Klal Yisrael that have the ability to create an effective initiative. The letter aleph stands for אחדים the small group of people (Korban Pesach Sheini), the letter yud stands for ישראל the collective Am Yisrael and also יחיד the single person alone (Moshe), and the letter נ represents נשים women (daughters of Tzelafchad). This is alluded to in what Dovid Hamelech says in Tehillim אשא עיני אל ההרים מאין יבוא עזרי I lift up my eyes to the mountains and ask from which place will my salvation come. The word מאין hints to the four categories of people who made initiatives that became part and parcel of Jewish History. They are all hinted in the acronym of אין. Whether your initiative stems from א אחדים a few men, י a yachid, ישראל a collective effort of Am Yisrael, or ן נשים women, gird up the courage and begin actualizing. From these initiatives hinted in the word אין that cover the gamut of participants who met success in their endeavors on behalf of Yisrael, יבוא עזרי you can draw ample strength and courage through אמונה in Hashem and in yourself.
Don’t ever underestimate the power of your initiative. In starts with the first four letters of the word initiative which form the words IN IT. It sends the message that the first step for every successful initiative is that You have to be in it in order to win it! The rest is Siyatah Dishmaya.