Saturday, October 13, 2012

Always something new when reading scripture

Something I didn’t notice before, anyway.

When the Israelites were in Sinai, near the mountain, Hashem told Moses that in three days He would descend to the mountain for a talk. Moses was to make sure the people were purified on the day of the visit. Hashem also told Moses to tell the people not to try and come up the mountain, nor even touch the mountain. Anybody who does, Hashem said, will die. Moses so informed the people, and the people replied, “OK. Not a problem” and “No way I’m going to touch the mountain.” The people had witnessed the drowning of Pharaoh’s army, had lived on manna and had seen water come from a rock; they knew what Hashem could (and would) do.

On the announced day, with his approach heralded by lightning and tremendous, continuous thunder, Hashem descended upon the mountain. Moses went up. Hashem told Moses to go back down and tell the people not to come up, lest they die. Moses said, “I already told them, and they said they would not come up, lest they die.” Hashem said, “Go back down the mountain and tell the people not to come up, lest they die.” Moses said, “Oh. You mean now. OK. Not a problem.”

What is the sound of God’s sigh? The one between I told you to do this and your response was “I already did” and My inquiry, “What part of ‘Do this’ do you not understand?

Until this morning, I never noticed the second “Go and tell the people …”

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