27.2. Moses Receives the Tablets of the Law

 (18) When He finished speaking with him on Mount Sinai, He gave Moses the two tablets of the Pact, stone tablets inscribed with the finger of God.

(18) When He finished speaking with him on Mount Sinai, He gave Moses the two tablets of the Pact: More literally, “the two tablets of the Testimony.” Later (Deut. 10:4) we learn that the inscription on the tablets was the Ten Commandments. This completion of the Sinai revelation echoes its beginning, and the Ten Commandments take center stage as the quintessence of the Torah.

Stone tablets inscribed with the finger of God: This testifies to the greatness of the tablets. The letters engraved upon them were literally Divine. But on the other hand, this was the very reason that the tablets had to be broken. Being so perfectly celestial, the tablets could not survive their descent to earth. Something so Divine that it is created with no human participation whatsoever cannot gain a foothold in the material world.

To be sure, maintaining the right balance is essential. Elements of the corporeal, terrestrial world must be present, but if they are allowed to predominate, the result will be Aaron’s sin. Aaron always wanted to remain “below” with the people, never to be cut off from them, even when they were undeniably in the wrong. And the outcome? Aaron’s golden calf.

License

Bible Dynamics, VOL. 2. EXODUS Copyright © by Orot Yerushalaim / P. Polonsky / English translation of the Torah by the Jewish Publication Society, New JPS Translation, 1985. With sincere gratitude for the permission to use. All Rights Reserved.

Share This Book