Let My People Know

"Anyone can be privileged to stand on Mount Sinai and hear the Torah at any moment in his life"


Let us endeavor to imagine that Divine speech is not a transient phenomenon, but a continuous one, repeating itself over and over. 

As though–and one must realize that this is only an illustration–one were to switch on an electric light. 

In alternating currents, such as we use here for ordinary purposes, the electric current goes back and forth all the time. 

One may thus see the Creation of the world as such a switching on of a current. 

What is done by throwing a switch is not a completed action; it only releases a continuous and repeated movement of energy that remains dependent on the source. 

Divine speech is thus eternal in manifestation and is continually renewed. 

It is the formation of a pattern that endures as a dynamic interaction. 

The Baal Shem Tov once explained, in another context, how this was true of the Revelation of the Torah on Mount Sinai. 

It was a speaking of the Eternal Word in the sense, too, that it is being eternally spoken. 

There has not been any ceasing of this Divine speech; it is we who have ceased to listen. 

At the confrontation of Sinai, not only was that said which was said, but it was granted us that our ears be opened to hear what was being said. 

And the Baal Shem Tov concludes by saying that anyone can be privileged to stand on Mount Sinai and hear the Torah at any moment in his life. 

The confrontation at Mount Sinai is unique and single, not because the word of God has ceased to be spoken, but because we do not let our ears remain open to hear it.

Therefore, we read, "If the letters of the ten utterances by which the earth was created during the six days of creation were to depart from it (but) for an instant, God forbid, it would revert to naught and absolute nothingness, exactly as before the six days of creation." 

By which it is reiterated that the departing of the letters is not only a matter of loss of life force or of some other deprivation. 

If the Divine speech ceases, the result is a reverting to nonbeing. 

The letters of this Divine utterance did not create the things of the world; they are the very substance of things.

Here it would be helpful perhaps to bring another example–and again it has to be understood only as an illustration and not as any sort of description. 

When in our modern view of the world we speak of matter, it is only in very general and relative terms that we recognize it as solid and inert. 

An object like a table is composed of constantly moving particles whose physical solidity is rather questionable. 

Electrons may actually be apprehended as concentrated points of energy waves. 

In short, even within the realm of the physical world we are caught in a net of unreality; that which seems solid is not really so. 

It is not a matter of our senses deceiving us; the senses give a straight forward enough projection of things as they appear to be and as they are meant to be. 

What is being said by the teacher is that all matter, even that which appears to us real and solid, derives its existence from the Divine word.

–Rabbi Adin Steinsaltz

From The Sustaining Utternace, “The Letters of the Ten Utterances,” p. 17 by Rabbi Adin Steinsaltz