At the conclusion of Mishpatim — after almost an entire Torah portion that addresses matters not directly related to Mattan Torah , the giving of the Torah — Moshe is told: “Go up to G‑d.”1 Rashi explains2 that this took place on the fourth of Sivan, prior to Mattan Torah.

Most of the preparations for Mattan Torah are described at length in the portion of Yisro. The fact that additional details are provided in Mishpatim indicates that a purpose must be served by describing Mattan Torah in two portions. What is that purpose?

Mattan Torah accomplished two things: a) G‑d gave the Torah — its commandments and laws — to the Jewish people; b) G‑d thereby entered into a “covenant of observance” with the Jews — “And you shall keep My covenant.”3 Jews thus became His servants, as the verse states:4 “You shall serve the L-rd upon this mountain,” and as Rashi notes,5 the Jewish people then became subjugated to G‑d.

Herein lies the difference regarding the preparations for Mattan Torah as described in Yisro and the preparations described in Mishpatim :

Yisro deals mainly with G‑d’s giving of the Ten Commandments. That is why the tale of the Jewish people’s preparation as related in Yisro deals with the commands that G‑d gave them to prepare for Mattan Torah.

Mishpatim , however, deals with the covenant and servitude to G‑d that resulted from Mattan Torah. This came about through the events described in this portion,6 namely, the Jewish people’s acceptance of the Torah by prefacing “We shall do” to “We shall hear” and writing the “Book of the Covenant.”

There is an even more profound reason for the details relating to Mattan Torah to be given in two separate portions:

The Midrash notes7 that at the time of Mattan Torah , two things were accomplished: “Those Above descended below” — “G‑d descended on Mt. Sinai,”8 ; and “Those below ascended Above” — “And to Moshe He said: ‘Ascend to G‑d.’ ”9 Man ascended to G‑dliness.

The first portion speaks mainly about Mattan Torah from the perspective of those “Above”— “G‑d descended,” “And G‑d spoke.” Mishpatim, however, addresses the event from the perspective of those “below” — “Ascend to G‑d,” “We shall do and we shall hear,” etc.

The difference between these two aspects of Mattan Torah is this: The tremendous degree of Divine revelation that descended from Above at the time of Mattan Torah was temporary; the ascent of the Jewish people, however, — becoming G‑d’s servants and thereby becoming spiritually elevated — was permanent.

The reason why the second aspect of Mattan Torah endured was because it came about as a result of man’s own service. It therefore became permanently embedded within the Jewish people’s psyche.

Accordingly, we are able to understand why the command of building the Tabernacle — mentioned in the next portion of Terumah — follows the second aspect of Mattan Torah. For the special quality of Divine revelation that resulted from the construction of the Mishkan mirrored the service of man:10

The revelation of G‑dliness within the Mishkan came about through the accomplishment of the Jewish people — “You shall make for Me a Mishkan.”11 Just as the Jewish people’s service at Mattan Torah resulted in their permanent spiritual elevation, so did the Divine revelation that resulted from the making of the Mishkan permanently sanctify its physical structure.

Based on Likkutei Sichos Vol. XXVI, pp. 153-159.