Those were solemn days in the camp of Israel in the desert of Sinai. Walking among the tents, one saw no idlers. Everyone was busy washing clothes, cleaning the camp, and preparing for the great event. No idle conversation or vain laughter was to be heard. Young and old alike were preoccupied with the great event about to take place.

Day of all days! Never has the sun risen so gloriously! Never has the sky been so blue or the air so fresh! A holy light filled the whole world, as Moses led his people out of camp, while G‑d raised Mount Sinai, its peak lost in the heavens.

As the people stood below respectfully at a distance, Moses fearlessly ascended the mountain until he too was engulfed by the heavens, and could no longer be seen. Then G‑d said to Moses:

"Now I will give Israel the Torah. Today, the wonders of Heaven shall be revealed to My chosen people. But since you are here on the mountain with Me, how will the people know it is I who speak and not you? Therefore, go down and join the people!"

At that instant, just as Moses turned to descend once again, the heavens opened for the children of Israel, and the glories of Heaven were revealed to a spellbound Israel for one unforgettable and awe-inspiring moment.

Then Moses brought G‑d's words to the people:

"I am not like earthly kings, the rulers and princes of the nations. I need no servants to clear the way for Me nor attendants to lay carpets for Me to tread upon. I need no candles to brighten My palace, nor purple tapestries to hang over My walls!

"I have spread the blue heaven under Me, and the entire world is My palace, brightened by My own brilliant light. The green grass and fragrant flowers are My royal carpet, and the sun is but one of My torches. The world is Mine, and I am its King!

"Now, therefore, if you will listen to My voice and obey My commandments, I will make you a kingdom of priests and a holy nation - worthy subjects of the King of Kings!"

And Israel knew that true indeed were the words of G‑d; that upon this earth never breathed a king who could compare with Him, for G‑d is all-powerful, His wisdom boundless, and His mercy unending.

When Moses had concluded delivering the Divine message to his people, Israel replied as one man: "We will do and learn!"

At that moment, six hundred thousand angels descended from Heaven, addressing each Jew: "You have made a wise choice. G‑d rejoices that you are prepared to obey His every command, the smallest as well as the greatest. And because you have chosen to do so, behold the beautiful gifts we bring unto you!"

Then the angels gave each Jew two beautiful crowns of glory. One for promising "to do," and the other for promising "to learn" the words of G‑d.

The dawn of the sixth day of Sivan found all Jews assembled around Sinai, expectantly trembling with the excitement. A great silence descended upon the earth. All movement ceased and everything stood still. No birds twittered and no ox lowed in the meadow. The waters of the seas lay still, not a wave rose or fell. No leaf fluttered in the wind, for no wind blew. The whole world was breathless with suspense. Bird, beast, and man - all were under the spell of the great event about to take place.

And then in the midst of this unbroken silence, the words of G‑d burst forth like thunder:


How these words shook the world to its very foundation! They completely filled the universe and resounded throughut the earth. The smallest child and the oldest of men trembled alike before so much glory and holiness. The mountains trembled and the sea rumbled. Lightning flashed in the heavens and thunder rang out.

And the words G‑d had spoken became burning flames that floated in the air. The flame issuing from G‑d's words grew brighter and brighter, blinding the people with its brilliance and filling their hearts with terror. When the Torah looked down and saw them standing nearly lifeless with terror, she turned to G‑d and said, "What good will it do to give me to lifeless corpses? I am to be a source of life for them, not the cause of their death! Revive them, O G‑d, so that they be able to rejoice with Your great gift."

Then a sweet dew fell upon the people, reviving them and giving them courage and strength to hear the rest of G‑d's word. As the people of Israel stood in awe before Mount Sinai, the angels descended from Heaven, bearing G‑d's Commandments. As one lovingly presents precious jewels, the angels presented the Commandments to the Jewish people, showing them the beauty of every law, the reward for keeping it, and the punishment if it be disobeyed.