In this week’s Torah portion, Vo’eschanan, the Torah describes (for the second time) the giving of the Torah at Mount Sinai. It tells us all of the Ten Commandments which Hashem gave us. Following this, we are told that “Hashem spoke these words to your entire assembly at the mountain out of the midst of the fire, the cloud and the opaque darkness. (He said) them with a great voice, which did not cease.” Rashi cites the words from the verse “which did not cease,” and gives two explanations. The first is that “Targum Onkelus explains the words to mean ‘and it did not cease,’ for His voice is strong and exists continuously.”
In other words, Rashi is telling us that this voice had no limitations whatsoever. The spiritual and the material are opposites. Physical objects are not inherently capable of “absorbing” spirituality, G-dliness. Likewise, G-dliness cannot “penetrate” the physical. However, this was a “great voice,” a Divine voice. It transcends both the physical and the spiritual. Before this mighty voice, the physical and the spiritual are equal. Only such a G-dly force can be absorbed by the physical world itself.
The same is true of a person’s service of Hashem. There are two aspects of Torah. One is its intellectual aspect. Understanding Torah, to the extent that a person can grasp it, requires the use of one’s intellectual faculties. However, there is a second aspect of Torah; it is Hashem’s will and wisdom. He is a perfect unity. Hence, His will and wisdom are one with Him. This is the “great voice” of Torah. It totally transcends this physical world.
Torah which is learned for its intellectual perspective cannot penetrate the physical, human body. However, when one learns “the great voice” of Torah, it is absorbed by his entire being. It can even penetrate his heels, the lowest part of his body.
The Torah which he learns affects him even after he finishes learning. When one is busy conducting his worldly activities, it is obvious that he is a Jew who learns Torah.
By hearing the “great voice which does not cease” when learning Torah and fulfilling Mitzvos, we can transform this world into a dwelling place for the Holy One, blessed be He, and bring about the coming of Moshiach.
Wishing one and all a good Shabbos! May we merit the time of the complete and true redemption now!
Rabbi Shmuel Mendelsohn
Adapted from Likkutei Sichos Volume 4, Page 1095
. The first time was in Parshas Yisro, beginning with Shemos 20:1.
. Our Parshah, Devorim 5:19.
. There are a number of Aramaic translations of the Torah. That of Onkelus is the closest to the simple explanation of each verse. It is often quoted by Rashi.
. See Tanya, Chapters 4 – 5.