The Ten Commandments begin: "I am the L-rd your G‑d". (Ex. 20:2) The Midrash Rabba teaches us that the Ten Commandments were more important to G‑d than the creation of the world. This is made apparent through the story of Creation beginning with the second letter of the alef-beit, the letter beit - in the word "Bereishit", "In the Beginning"; the first word of the Ten Commandments, "Anochi", "I", begins with an alef, the first letter of the aleph-beit.

Creation is divided into four categories: inanimate, plant, animal, and human….

The Sages taught that "noises and lightning" preceded the Ten Commandments. The Hebrew word for "noise" or "voice" is "kol". A total of five "voices" were heard. The faculty of voice or speech is special because it reveals to others what one is thinking or feeling. Also, there are different kinds of speech: a commanding voice, explanatory words, etc. Without "voicing" something, these thoughts would remain concealed. So too, these five voices heard at Mt. Sinai were different types of revelations of G‑dliness. Also, the number five is significant. Much of the creation is based on the number four. G‑d used His four-letter name "Y-H-V-H" in His creating of the world. Creation is divided into four categories: inanimate, plant, animal, and human. So too, there are four spiritual worlds: Emanation [Atzilut], Creation [Beriya], Formation [Yetzira], and Action [Asiya].

G‑d revealed Himself from a level superceding Creation itself…

If the giving of the Torah would have been preceded by four voices, it would have signified G‑d's revelation from the level of the boundaries of Creation. Five voices, however, shows us that G‑d revealed Himself from a level superceding Creation itself. This lofty level of holiness is attainable by each and every Jew today. When we delve into Torah, we can actually tap into this lofty level of G‑dly revelation.

In preparation for the giving of the Torah, G‑d says, "…I brought you to Me!" (Ex. 19:4). Chassidut explains that through the giving of the Torah, the Jewish people were raised to an unprecedented spiritual height, as it says, "Face to face G‑d spoke to you" (Deut. 5:4). This is despite the fact that just a short time before we were at the lowest possible spiritual level, enslaved in Egypt, the pit of immorality. This elevation could only happen through the direct involvement of G‑d. Yet,the Lubavitcher Rebbe asks, if we were so high, why does the verse say, "…you shall stand at the bottom of the mountain" (Ex. 19:17)? This is to remind us that the purpose of the giving of the Torah is that each of us will take on the challenge of the physical world to transform it from the lowest to the highest spiritual level, making it a dwelling place for G‑d. Until the Torah was given, spirituality and physicality were incompatible. The cataclysmic event of the giving of the Torah initiated the possibility for the Jews to instill G‑dliness in a physical world.

When Mashiach comes, we will actually be able to see how spiritually saturated the material world will be. There was a taste of this special reality at Mt. Sinai. As soon as the Ten Commandments began, the entire world was totally silent…."No bird chirped…and no ox bellowed…." The first commandment was heard emanating from all directions. Every part of Creation revealed G‑d's dominion over the world in preparation for His giving of the commandments. May we merit to see G‑dliness revealed in the world again through immediate redemption!

Chag Shavuot Sameach, Shaul

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