Do you echo?

You know that feeling when you stop at an intersection and a car pulls up next to you, heavy bass booming from his radio, into your car, through your chest and stomach and out the other side? That is a sampling of what the Jews felt like at Mt. Sinai.

When G-d’s voice blasted the Ten Commandments at us from all six directions, it produced the most powerful sound ever heard by humans. G-d’s thundering announcements hurled the people hundreds of meters backwards, knocking their souls out of their bodies. G-d had to dispatch an emergency angel team to revive them and bring them back to the foot of the mountain.

Every nation in the region quaked from the intense sound. Birds stopped chirping, animals froze, and nature paused as the Divine sonic boom overwhelmed them all.

But, the powerful noise did not echo.

If you have ever visited the Sinai, you will know how stark and rocky it is. In that stony, sandy environment, you expect every sound to echo, especially a noise loud enough to blast souls out of bodies. Why did G-d’s voice defy nature and not reverberate?

If we understand how echoes work, Sinai makes sense. Noise is a series of sound waves that emit from a source. When sound waves hit a hard surface, like tile or stone, they bounce back in the direction they came from. That is an echo.

G-d designed the Torah and its directives for the real world. He does not want us to escape mundane life to attain spirituality; He wants us to embed holiness within life as we know it. In other words, He intended His message to sink into the world, not to bounce off its surface. If the presentation of His Torah had echoed, it would imply that it was too spiritual for Planet Earth. The fact that His all-powerful voice did not reverberate tells us that the holiness and power of the Torah are made for our world.

On Shavuot, as we prepare to receive the Torah afresh, we should ask ourselves: “Do I echo?”

About the Author
Rabbi Shishler is the director of Chabad of Strathavon in Sandton, South Africa. Rabbi Shishler is a popular teacher who regularly lectures around the globe. he hosts a weekly radio show in South Africa and is the rabbi of Facebook's largest Ask the Rabbi group. Rabbi Shishler is also a special needs father. His daughter, Shaina has an ultra-rare neuroegenratove condition called BPAN. Rabbi Shishler shares Shaina's story and lessons about kindness and disability inclusion on his other blog, "Shaina's Brocha" and through lectures and Kindness Cookies teambuilding workshops.
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