Thursday, June 01, 2006

Moving the mountain

Tonight when you hear that God forced the Jews to accept the Torah by holding a mountain over their head, please don't fall into the trap of thinking that this story is literaly true.

Midrash serves many purposes, but telling us what happened in space and time isn't one of them. [See Maamar Al Haagadot by the Ramchal and Mivoh l'Talmud by Shmuel Hanagid if you don't believe me] In my opinion, the story of the mountain being held over our heads is meant to point out that when the Jews were offered the Torah, they had no choice but to accept. Having been rescued from Egyptian slavery, and led into the inhospitable dessert, they were operating from gratitude and fear, not from free will.

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