Divrei Torah 

Parshas Yisro 5776

Hearing HaShem
Parshas Yisro
January 30, 2016 – כ’ שבט תשע”ו
In this week’s Parsha, Yisro, we read about the giving of the Ten Commandments. The first commandment says “ אָנֹכִי ה אֱלֹקיךָ, אֲשֶׁר הוֹצֵאתִיךָ מֵאֶרֶץ מִצְרַיִם מִבֵּית עֲבָדִים-I am HaShem your G-d, Who took you out from the land of Egypt, from the house of slaves.” (Shemos 20:2) The Da’as Zkeinim, by the authors of Tosfos, wonders why the Jews would need this reminder that Hashem exists and that he is One. Did they not all see HaShem take them out of Egypt? Did they not witness countless miracles? The Da’as Zkeinim explains that the Jews needed this reminder because prior to the giving of the Torah at Har Sinai, HaShem called first from the east side of the mountain, and the Jews followed His voice. This then proceeded to happen with every side of Har Sinai, with the Jews again following the voice. Then, HaShem spoke once more, but this time from the heavens. Finally, they heard voices speaking from all directions, the heavens, and the earth. HaShem was telling them that in all of the ambiguity and apparent multitude of voices, there is only one G-d, Who is unified, and that all that they had heard came only from Him.

If anything, this just makes the question stronger. Were the Jews so easily led astray that they would become polytheists simply by hearing more than one voice? The Da’as Zkeinim touches on a basic point of human existence: uncertainty. In our own lives, we often perceive conflicting messages. HaShem disguises Himself from this world and from us, but in the first of the aseres hadibros, HaShem reassures us that there is order in all of the chaos. HaShem tells us that there is not a cacophony of voices, but that there is only He.

Related posts