Chazal teach us that Hashem spoke to Moshe with a loud thunderous voice but that only Moshe could hear it. The voice broke off, however, before it left the confines of the Ohel Moed. This was not a lunb kue, low voice, but rather a jfc ‘s kue, a loud mighty voice of Hashem. Yet, it never penetrated the walls of the Sanctuary. What was the purpose of this remarkable “voice”? On the one hand, inside the Ohel it was thunderous and mighty, yet no one heard it outside. If the purpose was only for Moshe to hear it inside the Ohel, then it could have been a low voice. Obviously, the lesson is that there was a powerful voice inside the Sanctuary, but only unique individuals could hear it. Outside the Sanctuary this voice could not be heard, regardless of its intensity.
Horav Chaim Shmuelevitz, z.l., draws an analogy between this Heavenly voice and the “Kol Hashem,” the voice of Hashem, to be heard inside the walls of the yeshiva. There is a singular sound that permeates the halls of a makom Torah, a place where Torah is studied and reigns supreme. It is a sound that no one else hears except those involved in studying Torah in the Bais Ha’Midrash. Is this a soft, low voice ? No, it is powerful and all-encompassing, but outside the yeshiva it is unheard.
Even more so, as Rav Chaim notes, is this true inside the yeshiva. Not everyone hears the voice, only those people whose “Moshe”-like commitment and devotion to Hashem and His Torah are privy to a sound unparalleled in its tone and message.
Moshe Rabbeinu, once he exited the Ohel Moed, was like everyone else: he did not hear that unique Kol Hashem. This lesson can be metaphorically applied to bnei Torah studying in a yeshiva. Once you leave and step out of the four walls of a makom Torah, that unparalleled sound which guided, directed, shaped, and filled your life is no longer “heard.”
Let us expand on this idea. What is the meaning of this Kol Hashem that applies only to a singular group of people who are attuned to it and can be heard by them only in a Torah sanctuary ? We suggest the meaning of this Kol Hashem as being a Heavenly sound which does not make a specific demand. Rather, it makes a statement and the demand is implied. Horav Mordechai Gifter, Shlita, explains the pasuk concerning the ben sorer u’moreh, the rebellious son: unt kuecu uhct kuec g nua ubbht doesn’t listen to the “voice” of his father and to the “voice” of his mother” (Devarim 21:18), in the following manner. A “kol” is a statement made by a person which does not ask for anything specific; it merely states a fact from which the listener should derive a message. For instance, the father states that he is thirsty; a statement which should make the son realize that he is to bring his father a drink. This is the essence of kibud av according to the Torah. A parent should not have to ask for something; his needs should be self-understood just by his son’s listening to his “kol.”
This same idea can be applied to the Kol Hashem as experienced in a Torah-oriented milieu. Hashem has made known what He expects of us. It is up to us to seek to understand this kol/voice, and to utilize it in our daily endeavors. The more one’s life is permeated by Torah dictates, the better he is able to “hear” and to interpret the “demand” which is the underlying motif of Hashem’s “voice.” Perhaps this ability to discern and to interpret is the hallmark of a ben Torah.