“I am Hashem your
G-d (Elokecha).” The word “I” indicates G-d’s
essence, which is beyond any description or name. G-d’s essence is
drawn into the souls of the Jewish people until it becomes “Elokecha”
(your G-d), that is, “your strength” and “your life-force.”
manifestation (hamshacha) is through the Divine name YHVH, which
alludes to the four stages needed in bringing down G-dly influence from
above to below. Y (Yud) [the smallest of the Hebrew letters] symbolizes
constriction (tzimtzum), [the first] H (Hei) [which has
three sides] symbolizes expansion (hispashtus), V (Vav) [a
vertical line] symbolizes drawing down G-dly influence (hamshacha),
and the final H (Hei) symbolizes receiving the influence.
Our Sages tell us that
all souls were present at the Giving of the Torah [even those souls
which were not in bodies at the time]. The question is: what purpose was
there in that — when the soul was not in a body — maybe [later, when
it is incarnated] the body will prove to be a hindrance?
explanation is that accepting the Torah made the souls of the Jewish
people receptive to G-dliness, and that even [later, when they come down
into bodies] their souls will get excited about G-dliness. It was this
power that was given at the Giving of the Torah.
Admur HaEmtza’i, Hanachas 119)
“And the entire
nation saw the thunder.” Rashi: they saw that
which is heard.
speaking, physical creations see physicality and hear spirituality. But
at the Giving of the Torah, when the evil [from the time of the eating
from the Tree of Knowledge] within them ceased, spirituality was
revealed and the sense of an independent physical existence was
nullified. The regular state of things was turned around. Accordingly,
they saw that which is [only] heard (spirituality) and only heard that
which is seen (physicality).
“And G-d spoke ...
‘I am Hashem your G-d who took you out of the land of Egypt.’” This
is one of the constant mitzvos, as it says, “I place Hashem
before me constantly” (Tehillim). How is it possible for limited man
to fulfill an unlimited mitzva?
answer to this is based on a saying in the Zohar, which says: “There
are three interconnected knots: Hashem, the Torah, and the Jewish
people. Each of them [contains] levels upon levels, concealed and
revealed [levels].” Chassidus explains that the inner [concealed]
aspect of Yisroel connects us to the inner [concealed] aspect of Hashem,
and from there the strength is derived to fulfill even the unlimited mitzva
of “I am Hashem.”
Shmuel 5634, p. 127)
“And the entire
nation saw the thunder and the lightning…” The fact that thunder
and lightning accompanied the Giving of the Torah seems puzzling. Since
most of the Ten Commandments — such as “do not murder” and the
like — were rather obvious, why was there the need for such a noisy
was unique about the Giving of the Torah was that the highest lights
were drawn down to the physical world. Furthermore, it is particularly
in physical things that the revelation of the Divine Essence takes
this is a tremendous wonder — the fact that the higher the light the
lowest it descends — it is, therefore, appropriate that there should
be thunder and lightening. This explains why thunder and lightning
accompanied such ordinary matters, for it is the very fact that they are
ordinary that draws the Divine Essence into them.
HaMaamarim 5678 p. 164)
“I am Hashem your
G-d Who took you out of the Land of Egypt”: “Hashem” (YHVH)
— which means “was,” “is,” and “will be” as one — is the
aspect of G-dliness that is above nature. Whereas “your G-d” (Elokecha)
— Elokim, which is numerically equivalent to “ha’teva”
(nature) — is the aspect of G-dliness that is clothed within nature.
your G-d” — the nature of every Jew is G-d as He is above nature ...
Thus every Jew has the ability to rise above all obstacles and to break
through the bonds of nature — “Who took you out of the land of
HaMaamarim 5707 p. 213)
Shabbos day to sanctify it.” Rashi: “remember” and
“keep” were said in unison (b’dibur echad). The Alter Rebbe
had a Chassid who was very simple. He may not even have known the
meaning of the words, including the parts of the prayers where this is
required. Nevertheless, he davened three times a day at great
Chassidim were amazed by his davening and asked him what took so
long. The Chassid replied: [While davening] I remember what I
heard from the Rebbe about “‘remember’ and ‘keep’ were said
in unison”: with every single word it is necessary to
“remember” and “keep” the “unity” of G-d (echad).
Sichos vol. 14 p. 224)