During his initial bid for the presidency, Bill Clinton paid a visit to the heavily Jewish community of Boro Park. Speaking at a private dinner, on a dais filled with gray bearded rabbis, Mr. Clinton posited that the difference between himself and then president George Bush came down to this: "Do you want a president who has Rachmonis (pity), or do you want a president who is a Rachmonis?" The audience roared.

Any successful speaker will tell you that you have to know your audience. "When in Finland," the saying goes, "start with Finish."

But one can only imagine the confusion that would result were an American president to begin his/her inaugural address in a foreign dialect.

At Mount Sinai, G‑d, the Torah and the Jewish people are formally joined. In a moment of unprecedented revelation, G‑d addresses the Jewish people directly, saying, "I am the Lord your G‑d." Surprisingly, the very first word G‑d utters, Anochi — "I" — is an Egyptian term. What does G‑d mean by this?

As the Jewish people receive the Torah at Mount Sinai, they earn the identity of "People of the Book." With G‑d's first word at Mount Sinai, uttered in a foreign tongue, He hints to the Jewish people what their most urgent task will be in this new role … translating the Book!

G‑d does not want Judaism to function as a private culture club, where the holy can mingle with the holy and grow holier. Rather, as G‑d entrusts his sacred Torah to his chosen people, He intends for them to carry the torch of G‑dliness to the darkest corners of the universe.

Whenever a Jew travels to a distant land, encounters a foreign spiritual entity, or deals with a fellow who feels alienated from G‑d — he/she must realize that the Torah translates. The emissary of G‑d must gaze deep within himself and the Torah he holds dear, to find just the word the "foreigner" is ready to hear.

This is the message G‑d seeks to convey to the Jewish people as He opens His Sinai dialogue in a foreign dialect. When we encounter one whose values stand in opposition to the teachings of the Torah, we mustn't despair of bringing him near. Often, all it takes to inspire an "Egyptian," is a few soothing words of Torah uttered in a familiar diction.