29 May Shavuot-Spiritual Tools-Torah Study With Moshe
The most important aspect of the receiving of the Torah is that which is written in the Ten Commandments, “And God spoke all of these words, saying (Exodus 20:1).” At first blush the word “saying” is incomprehensible. It is not comparable to any other “saying” in the entire Bible, which is ordinarily interpreted as “saying” to another. Here, it is impossible to explain it in this manner, for all Israel heard when God spoke to them face-to-face, those then present and those not present.
The correct interpretation of “saying” in this verse is to utter and speak all of the words of the Torah that were already stated to Moses in the entire Bible; for Mishnah, halachot, and Aggadot, all of it was related to Moses at Sinai. Thus, although the Talmud cites the names of individual Tannaim, and Amoraim as articulating a specific Halacha, as, for example, the House of Shammai states thus and the House of Hillel states thus, its meaning is that this word of God is the Law spoken to Moses at Sinai which emerged from the mouth of that Tanna or Amora.
Israel was granted this power that the Law emerging from their mouth is actually the word of God spoken to Moses at Sinai, given at the time of the receiving of the Torah by Moses. Hence, “saying,” means, to say that which has already been uttered. This is a case of annihilation of self to Him, for the utterance did not become separate in relation to man, blood issued forth from man’s mouth as though they were his own speech. Thus the verse, “My lips will repeat Your utterances (Psalms 119:172),” means, “The Torah is Your utterance, and my tongue repeats it as one who repeats after the speaker what he has said.”
The Ten Commandments are the Torah in its totality. For in receiving the Ten Commandments from the Almighty, Israel received the Torah in its entirety, achieving this state of self nullification to the word of God emerging from their mouth. They were as one who repeats after the speaker; such was the relation of the revelation of infinite light below to that of above, one of an actual self nullification.
When the intelligent person contemplates this during his study of Torah, awe and fear will engulf him as he takes to heart that this is actually the word of God spoken to Moses at Sinai.
This is what our Sages stated regarding the verse, “Make them known to your children and your children’s children (Deuteronomy 4:9),” and in the next verse, “The day you stood before God, your Lord in Horeb (Deuteronomy 4:10).” “Just as then in awe and fear, so likewise now (Berachot 27a).”
At first glance it is difficult to understand the comparison of Sinai to the situation of “likewise now.” For in their encampment about Mount Sinai, the entire nation, “saw the sounds (Exodus 20:15),” and, “ God spoke to them face to face (Deuteronomy 5:4),” which is not the case when an individual studies Torah by himself.
But the matter should be understood as written above, that every individual’s study of Torah, at all times, is actually the word of God spoken to Moses at Sinai. Thus, he who studies Torah will experience fear and awe as though he had received the Torah this day from Mount Sinai. (Torah Ohr, Yitro)