G‑d's appearance at Mount Sinai was not subtle. Mountains shook, thunder crashed. The divine voice reverberated through the galaxies. The world was shocked into stillness. And the people present, those who were supposed to receive this great revelation, dropped dead at the first intimation of His presence. They were revived shortly thereafter, only to be knocked out again by commandment number two.

Now, I can assure you that I would be happy to drop dead myself if G‑d made a personal visit. But He's not making a personal visit and He doesn't want me to die. G‑d started the whole business with a big bang, but He's kind of disappeared since. Yes, there have been a couple of selected appearances: a cloud on the tabernacle, a fire on the altar, a something here, there. But it seems that the grand personal appearance, where we heard G‑d's voice, felt G‑d's presence, was a one-time thing.

So here I am, some three thousand years later, and I'm left with this book called a Torah and its many, many instructions, but none of the instructor. I'm left with a G‑d who doesn't want me to drop dead at the sight of Him, but wants me live with Him — in His absence. So the question I'd very much like to put to this G‑d of mine is, What are You thinking?

Nothing doing. We're dealing with a G‑d who's not available for comment. He's already given that comment, and all the commentaries along with it.

So I open the book. "In the beginning G‑d created the heavens and the earth. And the earth was bare and empty, and darkness covered it." And I read and read and read. I read about how G‑d created the world as an extension of Himself and why He did it. I read about a world, just a few centuries later, alienated not just from this purpose, but from the creator Himself. I read about a little boy who defied conventional wisdom with the assertion of G‑d's existence. I read about his descendants, sure in their identity, proud of their heritage, but barely able to cling to the remembrances of these in a strange and hostile land. I read about their struggles to retain that shard of elusive G‑dliness in their lives — elusive because they could talk and communicate with G‑d, but no matter what they did, they themselves were not touched, their souls and surroundings remained unchanged. And I read about a nation in Egypt, six hundred thousand strong, that was raised and saved as it was about to slip below the horizon of existence into oblivion.

And then I read about the mountain and the thunder, the revelation to all of mankind at which this book was given. That not-so-subtle revelation.

And I read in the commentaries that indeed G‑d shook the world's foundation with His appearance, changing the very nature of existence. That indeed this was for us an out-of-body experience, in which G‑d took each of our souls and altered its make-up, changing forever who we are and what we could do. That G‑d rewrote the codewords of creation, enabling us to be, forever after, receptacles to a different type of revelation — a revelation so subtle, that although it is earth shattering, I feel only the slightest tremor.

I read on. How after Mt. Sinai, the Children of Israel settled into a different type of existence. One in which their Torah could speak to them, and their actions to G‑d. An existence that was enabled by that earth-shattering event, and that empowers us, to this day, to do our own earth shattering.

And I understand finally that G‑d made the most unsubtle revelation so that afterwards His presence should become so subtle that it could fit in my mind, my heart. So subtle I could live with it.