"G‑d spoke these words to your entire assembly at the mountain...with a great voice, not pausing." (Deut. 5:19)

"A great voice, not pausing":
One meaning of the expression "not pausing" is that the voice of G‑d at Mount Sinai continued — and continues — to be revealed in the prophecies and teachings of the prophets and sages of each generation. The fact that these prophecies and teachings were not explicitly articulated when the Torah was first given is simply because the state of the world and the Jewish people did not yet necessitate it. They were nonetheless implicit in the original revelation of the Torah.

G‑d addressed each Jew individually at Mount Sinai.

As has been mentioned, G‑d addressed each Jew individually at Mount Sinai. (Hebrew has different forms for the singular "you" and the plural "you." The word for "your" in the opening statement of the Ten Commandments — "I am G‑d, your G‑d" — is in the singular.) By extension, then, the words of every prophecy and teaching uttered by a true Torah sage are addressed to each Jew individually.

A second meaning of G‑d's words "not pausing": that the voice of G‑d did not cease once it was heard in Hebrew, but rather split into the seventy seminal languages of humanity. G‑d thus addressed not only each individual Jew but also every human being, thereby obligating all humanity for all time to respond to His call to observe the Noahide commandments.

By translating the Torah into all the earth's languages, G‑d also informed us that the Torah may be studied in any language. By doing so, we elevate that language, utilizing it for a holy purpose. As has been mentioned, this is also why G‑d later had Moses translate the entire Torah into all seventy languages.

A further meaning of G‑d's words "not pausing": that there was no echo. True, the absence of an echo normally characterizes a weak sound, not a "great voice." Here, however, the absence of an echo indicated that the voice of G‑d did not reverberate off the mountains but was rather absorbed by the mountains themselves.

Inasmuch as the spiritual and material are two distinct aspects of reality, we normally would not expect the spirituality of the Torah to be absorbed into physical reality. But inasmuch as G‑d revealed His essence at Mount Sinai, and His essence transcends the normal dichotomy between spirituality and physicality, this revelation was indeed able to permeate the physical dimension of existence.

Why are these details of the revelation of Mount Sinai given specifically here and not in the description of the event given in Parashat Yitro, when the Ten Commandments are first introduced, rather than here, where Moshe recapitulates the event after 40 years in the desert?

The generation of the conquest was about to embark on a long journey through history, which would take them and their descendants far from the original memory of the voice of G‑d on Mount Sinai. As the memory of this voice would fade, it would be of paramount importance that these descendants be aware that it continues to speak to them through the prophets and sages of each generation.

...the voice our forefathers heard at Sinai was heard by the non-Jews, as well.

Secondly, since the generation of the conquest and its heirs would have numerous encounters with other nations, it was important that we be told that the voice our forefathers heard at Sinai was heard by the non-Jews, as well. Therefore, in our efforts to encourage them to establish a Torah-based relationship with G‑d and to observe the Noahide commandments, we are not confronting them with something essentially foreign to them, for the voice of G‑d has been imprinted on their psyches from Mount Sinai.

Finally, as the Jewish people were about to pass from its spiritual existence in the desert to its material existence in the land, it needed to be reminded that the voice of G‑d and the Torah permeate all existence and that everything, even the inanimate kingdom, is saturated with latent G‑d-consciousness. Nothing about reality can truly be a deterrent to fulfilling G‑d's will; if it appears to be so, this is only a facade, a test of our determination and devotion to our Divine destiny. By approaching the Torah and its lifestyle as an encounter with G‑d Himself, we continue to cause His voice to permeate all reality, thereby making the world a home for Him and fulfilling the purpose of creation.

Adapted from Likutei Sichot, vol. 4, pp. 1092-1098
© 2001 Chabad of California/www.LAchumash.org