Fred A Levy Haskell (fredcritter) wrote,
Fred A Levy Haskell

  • Mood:

CAUTION: Religious Musing Ahead

I've probably gone completely 'round the bend and am engaging in theological speculation far, far beyond my depth, but I just had this thought. First, however, some background:

The introductory verse to the Ten Commandments reads as follows: "And God spoke all these words, saying" (Exodus 20:1). Rashi, quoting the Midrash, finds a source for an additional aspect of the story. The phrase "God spoke all these words" suggests that before He enumerated each of the Ten Commandments to the Israelites, God uttered it simultaneously, in one oral expression. …

But the Midrash does not explain why God would want to make all the words be heard in one instant, when they could obviously not have been understood by the people that way. If God had to repeat them subsequently, for the sake of comprehension, what was the point of having them shouted out in one chilling moment of incomprehensibility?

Neither Rashi nor the Midrash address themselves to this problem.


God chose to recite all ten laws in one instant, before He began to articulate each one in a comprehensible manner, because He wanted to ensure that we do not make the error of granting additional value to any one portion of the Divine law. … Had the ten categories been articulated one after the other, they would have had built into them the implicit assumption that arises from the fact that sequence bespeaks priorities. If "this" precedes "that," there must have been a reason; obviously "this" is more important.
—Benjamin Blech, Understanding Judaism: The Basics of Deed and Creed; Jason Aronson Inc.; Northvale, New Jersey; 1992, pages 28-32.

Now I think. Hmmmm. That's a very interesting point. Yes indeed. But… might there be more to it? Hmmmm, I think…

"All these words." Simultaneously. Now this is God we're talking about, not just some guy off the street. Hashem. You know. So "simultaneously" could very well mean simultaneously. Not "in time," not, that is, along the dimension of time, but at a single point of time. Wait. Not even a single point of time, not even an infinitesimally small point of time. They were said without regard for time, regardless of time, not "of time," not "within" time: outside of time. And yet we are told, "God spoke all these words."

So these were not normal words, spoken within the normal flow of time, about which could then be said, "Oh, they were said then, so they're not applicable now." Without the dimension of time, "then" and "now" are identical; there is nothing to distinguish one from the other.

"All these words," of course, being not just the "Ten Commandments" but the Whole of the Torah—the Law—given to us through Moses at Mount Sinai. Being outside of time, being not bound by time, all these words were/are/will be spoken simultaneously throughout time, for all time, eternally, since the beginning and until the end.

But what do I know? It's just a thought…

Oh. One other thing. This would also explain the Talmudic tradition that the entire Hebrew nation—all of the Jewish people, even those not yet born—were there, were among those who heard God speak at Sinai.


  • Changes, changes, changes

    As a result of an unfortunate confluence of circumstances, Merrill Corporation and I parted company at the beginning of this month. The separation…

  • Wish List

        Wish List I wish… I wish I was smarter I wish I could read…     …faster…

  • "sprints" vs. "marathons"

    Is it true that every large task can (usefully) be divided into quasi-modular subtasks which can be completed in a relatively short time? This…

  • Post a new comment


    Anonymous comments are disabled in this journal

    default userpic

    Your reply will be screened

    Your IP address will be recorded