Parshat Yitro:. The Four Stages of Ma'amad Har Sinai. Shiur by Menachem Leibtag. Presentation by Ronni Libson. Chapter 19. 4 sections:. I. Proposition (19:1-8) II. Preparation (19:9-15) III. Revelation (19:16-19) IV. Limitation (19:20-25). Proposition (19:1-8).
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The Four Stages of Ma'amad Har Sinai
Shiur by Menachem Leibtag
Presentation by Ronni Libson
I. Proposition (19:1-8)
II. Preparation (19:9-15)
III. Revelation (19:16-19)
IV. Limitation (19:20-25)
If: You will obey Me faithfully and keep My Covenant
Then: You shall be for Me a 'mamlechet Kohanim v'goy kadosh.."
Theme of Sefer Breishit:
Bnei Yisrael will be a 'model' nation
to represent God
to all mankind
Bnei Yisrael accept these terms:
Next step after accepting proposal - receive mitzvot
God first addresses how Bnei Yisrael will receive mitzvot:
Expect Moshe to convey message to Bnei Yisrael (as in 19:7)
Never tells what Bnei Yisrael responded, just that Moshe relayed the people's response back to God!
Adds line to narrative:
Bnei Yisrael don't accept original plan
Demand to hear the Dibrot directly from God
Structure of pasuk:
Bnei Yisrael’s response (second half) relates to God's plan for Matan Torah (first half)
New plan for Matan Torah!
Plan A: Moshe will act as intermediary (19:9)
Plan B: Bnei Yisrael themselves will see God (19:11)
Change of plan
Now Bnei Yisrael require 3 days of preparation - higher level of spiritual readiness
Can Bnei Yisrael reach this level?
Plan A or Plan B?
Bnei Yisrael frightened
Remain in camp rather than gather at Har Sinai
Moshe brings them from camp to Har Sinai:
Description of "hitgalut":
What was God answering?
If Moshe was saying Dibrot
Plan A (Moshe intermediary, people 'overhearing' a “kol” from God)
What is Moshe saying and what is God answering?
First two Commandments
Last eight Commandments
Pasuk refers to last 8 commandments
Pasuk describes conversation between God and Moshe recorded in psukim that immediately follow (19:20-25)
God limits His revelation to the top of the Mountain
Another story at Har Sinai:
God reverts from Plan B back to Plan A
People were frightened and overwhelmed by intense experience of "hitgalut"
Out of place!
Should be in chapter 19, not chapter 20
Entire “yirah” parshia (20:15-18) took place earlier, before Matan Torah
Described in Devarim:
Explains why immediately afterward in chapter 19 are a set of psukim describing this limitation of God's "hitgalut" before Matan Torah actually begins
The “yirah” story (20:15-18 ) took place during Matan Torah, between the first two and last eight commandments
First two Commandments(20:2-5)
Last eight Commandments(20:6-14)
God commands Bnei Yisrael directly
Less direct form of communication – through Moshe
Cannot record it before Dibrot (story took place during Dibrot)
Explains transplantation of “yirah” story from chronological location to chapter 20
Cannot record it in proper place (cannot break up the Dibrot, a single unit)
Torah records it immediately after the Ten Commandments
Both plans were carried out
Reflects the very nature of man's encounter with the Divine
Must constantly strive to come as close to God as possible
Must constantly retain an awareness of God's greatness and recognize his own shortcomings and unworthiness
God's original plan for Matan Torah
Man is unable to directly confront the "Shchinah"
Uses Moshe as an intermediary
Bnei Yisrael’s request
Desire to come as close as possible to Har Sinai and to encounter the "Shchina" directly
Expression of "ahavat Hashem"
Plan B - Ideal
Plan A - Reality
Ambiguity in Torah’s presentation
Torah emphasizes the need to find the proper balance between realism and idealism when serving God
Bnei Yisrael – similar to a child
Despite clear incapability to perform a given task, desire to accomplish is the key to growth
Wise parent will allow child to try even though child will fail
Better one recognize the limits of his capabilities on his own rather than be told by others that he cannot accomplish
As Bnei Yisrael struggle to maintain the proper balance between "ahava" and "yirah," God must guide and they must strive