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Shabbat Nugget: Parashat Yitro

In this week’s Torah portion, we learn about the giving of the Ten Commandments on Mount Sinai.  The Torah gives us a detailed account of what occurred and states, “On the third day there was a thunder and lightning and a heavy cloud on the mountain and the sound of the shofar was very powerful.. All of Mount Sinai was smoking because G-d had descended upon it in the fire…” The verses continue to tell us how G-d spoke the Ten Commandments.
It is important to point out that the Jewish religion began in a totally different fashion of any other religion in history.  Usually a religion begins with some sort of revelation or miracle, however, this revelation is witnessed by very few people, thus leaving room for doubt, what exactly happened?  In contrast, Judaism begins with a whole nation of millions of people witnessing the revelation at Mount Sinai.
The truth of this revelation can be understood from the following parable:  Imagine that a new candidate entered a presidential race and declared that Americans should follow his vision of the future of the country, because at last Sunday’s Bronco’s game which he attended in the Bronco’s stadium, a finger came out from heaven and pointed at him and declared ” You are my prophet and I would like all Americans to follow you.”  The reaction of the country would be that this is the best comedy show we’ve ever seen and we need to get this candidate in a hospital quickly.
The same is true with the Torah.  If the revelation at Mount Sinai did not occur and yet the Torah described this revelation at length, then the Jewish nation would view the Torah as a comical book at best.

About Rabbi Pesach Scheiner

Rabbi Pesach Scheiner is the Rabbi of Boulder County Center for Judaism. In addition, he teaches extensively throughout Boulder County and is the author of "Finding the Joy in Everyday Living," a book of short chapters explaining the ways to access happiness through appreciation, gratitude, and a sense of purpose.

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