From Refidim to Midbar Sinai
"Bayom Hazeh Ba'u Midbar Sinai - on this day, they came to the desert of Sinai". Chazal say (Shabbos 86b) that we arrived at Midbar Sinai on Rosh Chodesh Sivan.
The next Pasuk repeats: "Va'yisu Merifidim, Vayavo'u Midbar Sinai - And they traveled from Refidim, and they came to the dessert of Sinai".
This Pasuk reminded me of something we quoted in yesterday's "Daily Dose of Dov". Dov wrote:
"My wife occasionally reminds me that the day I got sober is a more choshuv date to her than the day we got married. Now, that day was the last day I acted out, too! Acting out made it impossible for me to run away from the truth about myself! And as long as I remember the truth about myself in sobriety, I believe Hashem will keep helping me stay sober."
It's interesting to see how Dov ties the two together. It seems that the last time Dov acted out, was the time he finally realized with full clarity how powerless he was. At that point, he irrevocably realized that he can't fool himself anymore. And it was that clarity in "facing the truth about his powerlessness" that rocketed him into 13+ years of recovery (until 120, be"h)!
The Torah ties the two together as well. "Va'yisu Merifidim, Vayavo'u Midbar Sinai". (me'refidim - "from Refidim" can also be understood in the context of "through Refidim"). We need to travel through our weakness/powerlessness" (as the word "Refidim / Rafu" implies), in order to get to Midbar Sinai - that true connection with Hashem. By "traveling" through the journey of our weakness - and recognizing it with honesty, we are able to arrive at Midbar Sinai. Recognition of our powerlessness helps us achieve true humility (be'Tachtis HaHar), which makes us into proper vessels for the receiving of the Torah.