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משה ידבר והאלקים יעננו בקול

Moshe would speak, and G-d would respond to him with a voice. (19:19)

The pasuk refers to the Giving of the Aseres HaDibros, Ten Commandments. The people heard the first two Dibros from Hashem. The next eight were transmitted by Hashem to Moshe Rabbeinu, who would then repeat them to Klal Yisrael. Millions of people were gathered there. How could Moshe’s voice possibly extend to everyone? How could such a multitude hear his voice? Rashi explains that Moshe spoke and, in order to make it possible for his voice to be heard, Hashem responded by granting him a (loud) voice. Hashem magnified Moshe’s voice. The Yalkut Shimoni (Shmuel 162) asks: We are taught…

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ואשא אתכם על כנפי נשרים

And (how) I carried you on wings of eagles. (19:4)

It is nothing short of amazing to observe how someone who had been introduced to Torah late in his life is able to grasp its profundities and, in almost no time, to grow in Torah to the point that it is almost difficult to believe that he had not been learning all of his life. How does this occur? Horav Simchah Wasserman, zl, attributes this transformation to being carried “on the wings of eagles.” Hashem sees a Jew who is sincere about his learning, who wants to grow in Torah, and He raises him up, so to speak, on the…

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כה תאמר לבית יעקב ותגיד לבני ישראל

So shall you say to Bais Yaakov. (19:3)

Moshe Rabbeinu was commanded to give precedence to the women when he delivered Hashem’s mandate to the nation. Rabbeinu Bachya explains that a “good” woman has the power to inspire her son to study Torah with zest and vigor. She creates the excitement, the passion, the inherent joy. This is why I used the word “good” to describe what every Jewish mother should be. It is only if she personally feels a strong affinity for Torah that she can imbue her son (and daughter) with such emotion. The love of Torah should resonate with her son, thus encouraging a long,…

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כה תאמר לבית יעקב ותגיד לבני ישראל

So shall you say to Bais Yaakov and relate to Bnei Yisrael. (19:3)

Chazal (Mechilta) teaches that amirah/somar/say implies a mild form of speech, while hagadah/sagid/speak/relate, implies firmness or even harshness of speech. When Moshe Rabbeinu spoke with the women (Bais Yaakov), he expressed the commandments in a manner that was compatible with their compassionate, maternal nature. When speaking with the men (Bnei Yisrael), the tone changed, because the mitzvos had to be transmitted to them with firmness. While this may be true, it is surprising that pasuk 6 concludes with the following words, “These are the words that you shall speak (tidaber) to Bnei Yisrael.” Rashi adds – lo pachos v’lo yoseir…

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