So I was learning a little bit about the giving of the Torah on Mount Sinai, and I found something interesting in the Midrash. According to one interpretation, when G‑d said the Ten Commandments to the Jewish people, there was no echo! I was like "WHAT?! No echo? Aren't we talking about G‑d here?" Anyways, to try to figure things out, I decided to start by understanding echoes better.

What you need: 1. Your voice 2. Plastic cup 3. Cotton balls

Step 1: Hold the empty plastic cup up to your mouth and start talking into it. It should sound kind of echo-ish or amplified. You can do this for a while if you want, and pretend you have a microphone.

Step 2: Fill the cup up with cotton balls (if you couldn't find any, you can use tissues instead). Now try your microphone trick again. This time it's probably not so echoey.

Step 3: Now walk around your house or school and try shouting out "Echo!" in different rooms. Try big rooms, small rooms, empty rooms and full rooms.

What's going on?

Echoes happen when sound bounces off of something and come back to your ear. Different surfaces will allow the sound to bounce more or less- and therefore create stronger or weaker echoes - depending on how solid and hard they are. When you spoke into the empty cup, your voice bounced off the plastic and back to you. When you filled the cup up with cotton balls and spoke into it, your voice got absorbed into the cotton balls, and didn't bounce back.

When you went around looking for “echoey” rooms, the biggest, emptiest rooms probably worked the best. That's because the sound went straight to the wall and bounced right back to you. But if the room is full of stuff, it'll get absorbed into each thing it hits, or just bounce off into a zillion different directions. Either way you get less of an echo.

Things to think about:

When G‑d gave us the Torah, the voice didn't echo because it didn't bounce off of anything- it got absorbed into everything in the world. That's because Torah is a part of our lives everywhere and in everything we do!