On the first day of Shavuos, we read in the Torah how: “In the third month after the exodus of the children of Israel from the land of Egypt, on that day they came to the wilderness of Sinai... and Israel encamped there before the mountain.”1

Concerning this event that took place just prior to the Jewish nation receiving the Torah, the Mechilta comments:2 “Everywhere else it is written ‘They traveled ... they encamped’ [in the plural]. That is to say ‘they traveled’ with dissenting opinions and ‘they encamped’ with dissenting opinions. Here, however, [it is written] ‘and Israel encamped,’ [in the singular, for] all were equally of one heart.”

The Mechilta thus informs us that although it is entirely natural for the members of a multitude to have dissenting opinions, when the Jews encamped in preparation to receive the Torah, all were “of one heart.”

This tremendous degree of unity resulted from the Torah’s ability to bring complete peace and unity, as the Rambam states:3 “The entire Torah was given in order to bring peace into the world.” Therefore the Jews’ encampment before Mt. Sinai brought complete unity and a complete absence of discord.

What property does Torah possess that enables it to bring about such peace and unity that all are “of one heart”? Indeed, the argument could be made that Torah fosters dissonance, for it is replete with dissenting and disparate opinions with regard to various points of Jewish law, etc.

And while it is true that once a definitive judgment is rendered all parties must act strictly in accordance with the halachah, it would seem that private intellectual disagreement would always remain.

How then can Torah be said to cause all Jews to be “of one heart,” which implies that it unites Jews not only in action but also in understanding and feeling?

The Torah stresses that the people’s encampment “with one heart” took place during “the third month after the Exodus.” Evidently the people’s unity resulted not only from their location “before the mountain,” but also from the fact that this took place during the third month.

What is so special about the attributeof “three,” and how does it foster unity? If anything, unity seems more directly related to the number “one.”

The difference between the numbers one, two and three is as follows: “One” stresses that from the very outset there exists but one thing; “two” is indicative of divisiveness — the antitheses of unity. “Three,” however, sees a unification of disparate entities — making “one” out of “two.”

This aspect of “three” is similar to the statement of our Sages4 that “When two Biblical passages contradict each other, the meaning can be determined by a third Biblical text, which reconciles them.”

We see here the remarkable quality of the “third.” Without the third verse, the two verses indeed contradict each other. Then the third comes to reconcile the seemingly irreconcilable. Moreover, it does so not by “taking sides,” i.e., agreeing with one verse and disagreeing with the other, but by showing that the first two verses are actually in consonance.

Since Torah is inextricably bound up with the concept of “three,” as our Sages state:5 “Blessed is G‑d who gave the three-part Torah6 to the three-part Nation7 ... in the third month,” it is understandable that Torahas a whole has characteristics similar to those of the number three.

This expresses itself in the fact that even when Torah law is seemingly determined not through a reconciling view, but through the agreement with one opinion and the disagreement with another, those initially opposed agree not only with the final ruling but also with the logic that resulted in the verdict: all are peacefully united “with one heart.”

Based on Likkutei Sichos, Vol. XXI, pp. 108-112.