When introducing Himself to the Jewish people in the great event at Sinai, why did G‑d choose to understate His own achievements?

Think about it. In presenting His credentials, G‑d could have announced:

I am the Creator of all reality!

I uttered the enormous and complex universe into incredible existence!

I brought galaxies into breathtaking being!

I am He who re-animates all creation from nothingness every moment!

When introducing Himself to the Jewish people in the great event at Sinai, why did G‑d choose to understate His own achievements?Instead, He simply offered, “I am the L‑rd your G‑d, who extricated you from Egypt . . .” Certainly the Exodus was an awesome drama that proved G‑d’s omnipotence, but we are essentially talking about moving a tiny nation a couple of miles eastwards in the sand—not fashioning the mind-boggling cosmos.

Without sounding blasphemous, the blatant omission at Sinai almost suggests that the Giver of the Torah at Sinai was not in fact the Creator of heaven and earth . . .

Imagine a stereotypical monarch of old, fearsome and famous, with a powerful army and vast empire under his heavy belt. We can divide the scene into three parts, the way the mystics do:

1) The king, in person.

2) The awe-inspiring title by which that august person is referred—Glorius DCCLXX, perhaps.

3) The extension of that name: the king’s reputation that spreads far beyond the borders of his own kingdom, eliciting trade, treaties and tributes.

Earthly rulers are mere parables for the Heavenly Monarch, our sages inform us. And between G‑d and the world, three corresponding elements exist:

1) G‑d Himself, the ultimate, indefinable, infinite Essence.

2) The Tetragrammaton, G‑d’s essential, ineffable name, whose letters describe the process of G‑d creating “space” for His creations to exist, and then creating and vivifying them.

3) The “reputation” of that name, its radiance and extension, which is the divine power and light that actually breathes the universe into existence and constantly sustains it.

So the sum of the cosmos, the gigantic galaxies and orchestrated chaos, the breathtakingly precise order of the universe’s subatomic complexity, along with its mysteries, wonder and beauty, including the complex life-forms found within its oceans, atmospheres and lands—exist as a result of remote radiance issuing from the divine name, that in turn merely echoes G‑d’s essence.

In other words, even the divine name is infinitely removed from creation, only lending its glory to generate and vivify. Certainly, then, G‑d Himself is immeasurably beyond!

Then came Sinai.

G‑d chose to “lower” His very essence, contracting and condensing infinity into the myriad details of His Law. The Torah issued not from a radiance of G‑d’s name, nor from the name itself—but rather from the Essence.

Sinai’s initial word of revelation says it all: Anochi. I am.

Sinai’s initial word of revelation says it all: Anochi. I amNo, this was not merely the Creator of the universe speaking in refracted lights through the veil of creation. Why, heaven and earth pale into insignificance before the revelation of Sinai! Rather, this was Personal.

“I am the L‑rd your G‑d!” At that incredible moment, the very protocol of existence was suspended, as the ultimate “I am” became the personal divine force of every Jewish man, woman and child for all time.

To answer our original question:

When G‑d mentioned the Exodus from Egypt in the opening words at Sinai, He purposely overlooked His role as Creator. No, the “I am” of Sinai was certainly not merely the Creator.

Rather, by entering an eternal covenant with G‑d over His Torah and its commandments, the Jew would begin where all existence stops!

Spiritual and physical realities are mere reflections of divinity, byproducts of secondary diffusions of G‑d’s primary extensions, so-to-speak. G‑d’s Wisdom and Law, on the other hand, connect the Jew directly with His very essence, with the ultimate “I am.”

“I am the L‑rd your G‑d who extricated you from Egypt!” The Hebrew for Egypt, Mitzrayim, also translates as boundaries, limitation, finitude—meitzarim. The Jewish soul was born of the Sinaitic disclosure of the Essence, launching a power that transcends creation; a force that struggles with angels and G‑dly manifestations and prevails; and a people that defy history, aging, and all that creation can throw at it. Rather, the nation slowly but surely redefines the universe in accordance with the Sinaitic revelation of “I am” that became each Jew’s “your G‑d, who extricated you from the finitude” of all existence.

Studying and observing the Torah elevates a person beyond earth, beyond heaven, and even beyond their divine origin—the realm that can be described as “G‑d, the Creator of heaven and earth.” He or she unites with the supreme Essence.

Sinai connects the “I am” of a Jew with the ultimate Anochi.