What is the most important event in History? The Jewish people receiving the Torah is the most incredible of all events in World History. We live in a world now, where it is hard to believe that it happened. But in the year 2448 ( 1313 B.C.E) on the 6th of Sivan, which was a Shabbos morning; HASHEM, the Infinite Creator of all life spoke to an entire nation. There is no date on the Roman calender for this event, their empire not formed until 44 B.C.E. Also there is no Egyptian date, because their empire had just been destroyed. “On the third day when it was becoming morning, there was thunder and lightning and a heavy cloud on the mountain, and the sound of the shofar was very powerful, and the entire people that was in the camp trembled.” (Shemos/Exodus 19:16)
The Midrash informs us that HASHEM then spoke all the Ten Commandments simultaneously. This was to demonstrate that no human being, demon or angel could have done this miracle. Then the Torah says, “Elokim spoke all these words, to say: I am HASHEM, your G-d Who took you out of the land of Egypt, from the house of slaves.” (Shemos/Exodus 20:1-2) When G-d spoke the word אנוכי (I am) the Midrash informs us that all of Creation stopped. The birds did not fly, the oxen did not low, the angels did not say shira (songs); the oceans were still.
The laws of nature were further overridden by their Creator. The Torah says, “And all the people could see the sounds and the flames, the sound of the shofar and the smoking mountain; the people saw and they moved, and they stood from afar. (Shemos/Exodus 20:15) We experienced a supernatural revelation of G-d, and we stood from afar. Rashi says “They drew back twelve mils, the length of their camp, and the ministering angels would come and assist them to return them.”
“Moshe (Moses) said to the people, ‘Do not fear, for in order to exalt you has Elokim come; so that His fear will be before you, so that you will not sin.'” (Shemos/Exodus 20:17) Rashi explains in order to exalt you as meaning: “to promote you throughout the world, that your reputation will go out among the nations, in that He in His glory revealed Himself to you.”
There is something so remarkable in the reaction to this incredible event. The first is that besides the Jewish people, from all the other nations, only one man came to Mt. Sinai. That man is Yisro from the nation of Midyan, the father-in-law of Moshe. The second is the reaction of the Jewish people themselves, upon hearing HASHEM speak, is to stand from afar.
All of history mankind has wondered at the existence of G-d. At the one moment so far in history, when HASHEM is revealing himself; no other nation comes to inquire and we back away. Why? The greatest temptation the yeitzer harah tempts us with is our own greatness. On this moment in history was clear proof of a being that is greater than us, more powerful, kinder, more compassionate; and this is overwhelming. This is knowledge that humbles us.
However, it is this revelation at Mt. Sinai that is propelling all the world to the acceptance of HASHEM’s existence. It is this knowledge that will finally bring the world into a state of peace, and the eternal life of Olam HaBah ( the World to Come ). It begins with us walking towards G-d, one step at a time. A step of learning Torah, another step of performing a mitzvah, another step of an act of kindness to each other. These actions draw us closer to the age of Mashiach ( the Messiah ).
I asked Rav Noach Weinberg tz”l what he thought we needed to do to bring on the geulah. He said that we need to know that HASHEM loves us. The darkness is the illusion of the yeitzer harah, the world is sweet and good. Everything only awaits us, wanting G-d to make the world better.
Have a great Shabbos,
15th Shevat, 5771