Vol 16.25 - Yitro 4 Spanish French Audio Video
1. On the verse (Ex. 19:20):
“The L-rd descended upon Mount Sinai, to the peak of the mountain, and the L-rd summoned Moses to the peak of the mountain, and Moses ascended”
וַיֵּרֶד יְהוָֹה עַל הַר סִינַי אֶל רֹאשׁ הָהָר וַיִּקְרָא יְהוָֹה לְמשֶׁה אֶל רֹאשׁ הָהָר וַיַּעַל משֶׁה
“The L-rd descended upon Mount Sinai: I may think that He actually descended upon it. Therefore, Scripture says: “You have seen that from the heavens I have spoken with you” (Exod. 20:19). This teaches that etc.” (As will be explained in par. 3)
ירד ה' על הר סיני: יכול ירד עליו ממש, תלמוד לומר (שמות כ יט) כי מן השמים דברתי עמכם. מלמד שהרכין שמים העליונים והתחתונים והציען על גבי ההר, כמצע על המטה, וירד כסא הכבוד עליהם
In simplicity, one learns that Rashi is coming to answer the contradiction in the verses:
Here it states: “The L-rd descended upon Mount Sinai” which plainly means that “He actually descended upon it"
Whereas further on it states: “You have seen that from the heavens I have spoken with you” and on this Rashi comes to answer this with “This teaches that etc.”
One cannot however learn that this is Rashi’s intent, since:
(Especially since on that verse: “You have seen that from the heavens etc.”, Rashi indeed notes the contradiction, for he states: "But another verse states: 'The L-rd descended upon Mount Sinai'”, as will be explained in par 4).
One must say that Rashi is not coming here to answer the contradiction of the two verses, but rather, it is because that, here, in this verse, (even before we know of the later verse: “from the heavens I have spoken with you etc.”) there is a doubt (ספק) (“I may think”) whether it means "He actually descended upon it" or not. And since we cannot resolve the doubt from our verse, Rashi cites a proof from a later verse – “Therefore, Scripture says: ‘You have seen that from the heavens I have spoken with you’’“.
One must understand:
Where is the place, from our verse, that causes one to doubt if the verse means "He actually descended upon it"?
2. The explanation in this is:
In a previous verse, it states “And the entire Mount Sinai smoked because the L-rd had descended upon it in fire“– meaning that the mountain (just) smoked (גערויכערט), but not that mountain (and what was in it) burned. Seemingly: if the fire – “actually descended upon it”, the mountain should have burned.
(And specifically the plants (געוויקסן) that were found on it – as it clearly states in the verse, that on Mount Sinai there was a bush (סנה). And plainly, this was not the only bush or plant on Mount Sinai).
One could say that the reason that the mountain did not burn but just smoldered was because it was a miracle. However, what would be the reason for the special miracle? Especially since even before this, by the bush at Mount Sinai – it states that it burned.
Therefore it is more straightforward to learn that it was according to nature. That since the G-dly fire did not “actually descend upon it“, but rather it remained above the mountain, therefore the mountain did not burn and it just “entirely smoked“(עשן כולו) due to the fire which was (just) close to it,
(As is the nature of fire, that when it is sufficiently close to an object, the object emits a “smoke”).
Therefore Rashi immediately states here “I may think that He actually descended upon it” – for from the verses here, there is room to doubt whether "He actually descended upon it".
According to this one must however understand it from the other perspective:
Why is it just a doubt, and Rashi needs to come onto the proof from the later verse “from the heavens etc.” that he did not “actually descend upon it“– when one already knows this from the previous verse "And the entire Mount Sinai smoked", as aforementioned?
3. Rashi continues to comment that:
“This teaches that He bent down the upper and the lower heavens and spread them upon the mountain like a spread on a bed, and the Throne of Glory descended upon them.”
The source for this comment is from the Mechilta. However, as has been spoken many times - Rashi cites in his commentary only the Midrashei Chazal that are according to Pshat and that are necessary to understand the Pshat of the verse.
And specifically in our case, where Rashi does not cite (as he does in most places) a source for his comment, it proves that that this explanation, with all of its details, is derived (not from the Mechilta, but rather) from the simple understanding of the verse (פשוטו ש״מ).
One must understand:
In order to explain it how both things can coexist, namely that:
it would have, seemingly, been sufficient to say concisely “This teaches that He bent down the upper heavens upon the mountain and descended upon them.“
From where does Rashi take, according to the simple understanding of the verse – Pshat - that:
4. In addition to the specific details (דיוקים) in Rashi’s comment here – one must also understand how this comment of Rashi, here, coincides with his comment on the later verse “You have seen that from the heavens I have spoken with you” where he explains:
“But another verse states: ‘The L-rd descended upon Mount Sinai’ (Exod. 19:20). The third verse comes and harmonizes them: ‘From the heavens He let you hear His voice in order to discipline you, and on earth He showed you His great fire’ (Deut. 4:36). His glory was in heaven, His fire and His power were on the earth. Alternatively, He bent down the heavens and the highest heavens (שמים ושמי השמים) and spread them out upon the mountain, as it says: ‘And He bent the heavens, and He came down’” (Ps. 18:10) “.
כי מן השמים דברתי: וכתוב אחד אומר וירד ה' על הר סיני, בא הכתוב השלישי והכריע ביניהם (דברים ד לו) מן השמים השמיעך את קולו ליסרך ועל הארץ הראך את אשו הגדולה, כבודו בשמים ואשו וגבורתו על הארץ. דבר אחר הרכין שמים ושמי השמים והציען על ההר, וכן הוא אומר (תהלים יח י) ויט שמים וירד
It is puzzling:
In our verse, Rashi cites only the explanation of "He bent down the heavens", yet on the verse "from the heavens etc.” Rashi states:
One must also understand:
It is well and good that Rashi omits, there (in the second commentary), the details of "spread on a bed" and “the Throne of Glory descended upon them" (which he states here). For one could say that he is relying on the previous commentary (and therefore just cites the general explanation).
However, one must understand the differences and the additions there:
5. The explanation of all this is:
The difference between the two comments of Rashi are because of the general difference between the verses (in the chapter) here and in the chapter (פרשה): “You have seen that from the heavens I have spoken with you”:
The flow of the verses here, indicate how G-d descended (אראפגענידערט) on Mount Sinai in a visible manner to all, so much so that the mountain itself, achieved a holiness. Therefore (they were warned):
“Beware of ascending the mountain . . No hand shall touch it . . The people cannot ascend to Mount Sinai . . Set boundaries for the mountain and sanctify “
(And therefore Rashi must rely on a proof from the verse “from the heavens etc.” that He did not “actually descend upon it“– even though it states that “And the entire Mount Sinai (just) smoked“ (as aforementioned par 2) – since from the complete flow of the chapter it comes out that "He actually descended upon it". Therefore the verse: “And the entire Mount Sinai smoked“ only “casts a doubt” ("I may think”) whether “He actually descended upon it“)
Whereas the chapter: “You have seen that from the heavens I have spoken with you” comes to emphasize the opposite. Namely how G-d is high (הויך) and far from the earth. Therefore “You shall not make (images of anything that is) with Me”, “You shall not make a likeness of my servants who serve Me on high (Rashi ibid) “.
Therefore the first (and primary) comment, there, explains, according to the simple understanding of the verse, that “His glory was in heaven, (and just) His fire and His power were on the earth“. For according to this comment, it emphasizes G-d’s loftiness from the earth (“His glory” did not descend on Mount Sinai but remained in “Heaven”).
However, according to the explanation that “He bent down the heavens”, this emphasis of “You have seen that from the heavens I have spoken with you“ is not straightforward,
(In other words that G-d spoke from a lofty and far place – “heaven”)
at the time where that the heavens completely descended on the earth, on Mount Sinai.
6. With this, it is also understood why Rashi says here “He bent down the upper and lower heavens“ (הרכין שמים העליונים ותחתונים), whereas there he states “He bent down the heavens and the highest heavens (שמים ושמי השמים)“:
The intent of Rashi’s comment here, is to explain (the import of this chapter), namely G-d’s descending on the mountain, yet in a manner which does not in contradict “from the heavens etc.” (and “the entire Mount Sinai smoked etc.")
And since it comes out from the verses that:
therefore one cannot say that “He bent down“ (just one) “heaven”. (In other words that there is only one “heaven” between G-d and Mount Sinai (earth).
Therefore Rashi must add (צולייגן) that “heaven” here, means all the “heavens” – the upper and lower ones (העליונים ותחתונים).
And since it is speaking here of descending (ירידה), Rashi uses
(Not the wording of the verse “heavens and the highest heavens (שמים ושמי השמים) “, but rather)
a wording which fits the aspect of descending – “the upper and lower ones“ (העליונים ותחתונים).
Whereas, there, Rashi comes to explain the emphasis of “that from the heavens etc.” (yet, in a manner that does not contradict “The L-rd descended upon Mount Sinai“).
Therefore Rashi states that
(even though “He bent down the heavens" – which reduces (ממעט) the emphasis of “from the heavens etc.” (as above par 5) – however)
“bent down the heavens“ also includes (heavens and) “the highest heavens (שמי השמים) which magnifies the loftiness of the place, namely that G-d descended on the “highest heavens “ (however – the way they were found on the mountain).
7. Since, from the flow of the chapter, it comes out that “The L-rd descended etc.“ was in a manner where the Holiness of the Shechinah was on the mountain, so much so, that the mountain – and its holiness, as aforementioned, did not interrupt “bending down the heavens“ – since this tells just how it was when “The L-rd descended etc.“, in general. However not the manner of the descending, that G-d came down upon Mount Sinai so much so that the mountain attained a holiness -
Therefore, Rashi must add that "He spread them upon the mountain", meaning that it was spread on the mountain.
Moreover: that it was “like a spread on a bed“– where the “spread“ (מצע) is not a separate important thing, of its own accord, but rather that it is a part of the “bed” (מטה).
The same is in our case:
The “heavens” did not remain a separate thing from the mountain. But rather they were the “spread“ (מצע) on the mountain. Therefore the holiness of the Shechinah was on the mountain itself.
However, from the verse “that from the heavens etc.”, where the emphasis is how G-d spoke from “the heavens” (not from earth) - Rashi cannot say that this verse means to emphasize (that “(He spread them ..) like a spread on a bed”), since this is an emphasis for the opposite – that the “heavens” were nullified/“batel” to the mountain (earth).
However, Rashi must, there, also, add “spread them“. For with “bent down the heavens" itself, the contradiction of “The L-rd descended upon Mount Sinai“, which includes that there was holiness on the mountain itself, is not resolved. And therefore Rashi must say “spread them“– that the heavens did not remain higher from Mount Sinai, but rather “spread them on the mountain”.
With this it is also understood why Rashi must add there the proof from the verse “And He bent the heavens, and He came down” (ויט שמים) (Tehillim 18:10):
The proof from the verse (in Tehillim) is that our verse does not emphasize more than “And He bent the heavens“ (ויט שמים)– which means “bent“ (הרכין).
And this is also in the verse “from the heavens”. For these verses do not speak regarding “like a spread on a bed“ which then would mean “out of Heaven” (אוים שמים) – meaning that the “Heaven” (spread/מצע) becomes a “part” of the mountain (“bed”). But rather “spread them” (הציעו) is just a continuation of “bent them” (הרכין) (it is included in the “And He bent the heavens“ (ויט שמים) - meaning that he bent the “Heavens” until the mountain, but not more than that. Even then it remained “Heaven” for itself (which is why the emphasis of “You have seen that from the heavens I have spoken with you” fits).
8. According to the aforementioned, that here, Rashi goes out to explain the details and manners of G-d’s descent on Mount Sinai, it is also understood why Rashi says “the Throne of Glory (descended) upon them":
By Yetzias Mitzrayim it states “I will pass through the land of Egypt etc. “, meaning that G-d alone, with His glory and Himself came down into Egypt and “smote all the firstborn”. Nevertheless, we do not find that by Yetzias Mitzrayim, that there was smoke etc. like when “The L-rd descended upon Mount Sinai“.
In order to explain the difference between “The L-rd descended upon Mount Sinai “ and “I have descended to free them from the hand of Egypt “, Rashi precisely writes “the Throne of Glory descended upon them" – for “Throne“ depicts settling (permanence) (התיישבות ,קביעות) and greatness (especially – “the Glory”) and kingship . This means that by Matan Torah, G-d was settled and established (בהתיישבות וקביעות) on Mount Sinai, and with glory and kingship. Therefore, the “The L-rd descended upon Mount Sinai “ brought with it all the details which are mentioned in the chapter.
9. From the “wondrous aspects” (ענינים מופלאים) according to Remez and Sod (allusion and allegory etc.) in Rashi’s comment:
The aforementioned difference between the two (verses – and therefore the) aforementioned comments of Rashi -
is alluded to in that which the verse:
Nineteen (as it states in Sefarim) is the numerical value (gematria) of the Milui (מילוי) of G-d’s name (“Mah”)
Note: Milui (מילוי) is the “filling” - the full spelling-out of each letter). G-d’s name “Mah” is derived like this:
Since all the Sefirot are inclusive of each other (כלולות זו מזו), therefore (the Sefirah of) Keter includes ‘Malchut of Keter’ (מלכות שבכתר). This means Keter, which is higher than the world, manifests itself in a motion of revelation below (Malchut).
Also in (the Sefirah of) Malchut, there is ‘Keter of Malchut’ (כתר שבמלכות) – meaning that in Malchut, the revealed worlds (עלמין דאתגליין), “Keter” is revealed there.
And this is the difference between the two verses:
Chapter 19 verse 20 (which means that the 20 is a detail of the “19” (יט) – depicts on ‘Keter of Malchut’. And therefore it contains (in its the chapter) a general content (כללות׳דיקער תוכן) – descent (Malchut). However Rashi, the wine of Torah, reveals what is manifested in that very descent – “bending down the heavens" – ‘Keter of Malchut’.
However, chapter 20 verse 19 – that “19” (יט) is a detail in the 20 (כ׳) – depicts ‘Malchut of Keter’. Therefore, its general content is - “from the heavens etc.” – meaning how G-d is removed (אפגעטראגן) from the world (Keter). And also here, Rashi reveals that this is not how Keter is for itself and hidden, but rather “bending down the heavens” – ‘Malchut of Keter’.
10. This is also the inner explanation of the matter, namely that in his comment on the verse “The L-rd descended etc.“ Rashi states “like a spread on a bed“ and on the verse “from the heavens etc.”, he omits it.
Since ‘Keter of Malchut’ is a detail of the Sefirah of Malchut, whose aspect is descent below, therefore also in the “Keter” of it, descent and enclothing below, is applicable to it. So much so that it is “like a spread on a bed “ (as aforementioned par.7).
Whereas in ‘Malchut of Keter’ – referring to that which Keter illuminates below. In this case since Keter is, in essence, a light that is higher than the worlds, then even when it illuminates below (‘Malchut of Keter’) it is not in a manner where it is enclothed in them, but rather remains in the level of transcendence (מקיף) – “heavens”.
MSichas Shabbat Parshat Yitro and Shabbat Parshat Mishpatim 5737
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