Parshat Yitro – יתרו


Receiving the Torah on Mount Sinai

When the revelation
of the Receiving of the Torah occurred,
Mount Sinai was aflame along with
the hearts and souls of the Jewish people.

A “mountain” in Jewish Ethics
is associated with Pride – התנשאות
a character trait to be certainly avoided.
So Mount Sinai is thus praised
as being a “modest” and lowly mountain.
But if self-effacement is the desired trait
why was Torah not given at the Dead Sea,
the lowest place on earth.
Why on a mountain at all?
The answer is that we need to have
a minimum amount of “mountain”
or pride in our personality
to have the courage and power
to start our day in learning Torah
and performing the commandments
against our inclinations and lazy nature.

The Secret of the Alef


The Letter Alef א
is the first letter of the first word
in the Ten Commandments
אָנֹכִי י-ה-ו-ה אֱלֹהֶיךָ
אֲשֶׁר הוֹצֵאתִיךָ מֵאֶרֶץ מִצְרַיִם

I am the Lord your God
who has delivered you from Egypt
(Exodus 20: 2)

The Letter Bais ב is the first letter
of Genesis Bereishis
and its name means Bayis or House,
indicating God’s desire to have
a habitation in this world
which he created ex nihilo.

The Alef is the other-worldly letter
whose unique form is a diagonal
which implies transcendence
combining and beyond
the vertical line of hierarchy
and the horizontal of total equality.

The Alef is formed by two Yuds,
one to the upper right
and the other to the lower left,
joined by a diagonal Vav.
Yud (10) + Yud (10) + Vav (6) = 26
The gematria for the name of God.
The Yuds represent
the higher and lower waters
and the Vav is the firmament
רקיע between them
as described in
Second Day of Creation.
The transcendent Vav
has the ability to connect
and bear opposites or paradox
נושא הפכים
of the the two Yuds
representing heaven and earth.
fire and water,
the drive to exalt God and
yet feel one’s lowliness.

What is remarkable is that
the first word
of the Ten Commandments
Anochi אָנֹכִי
is of Egyptian origin,
even more so since this word
represents the Name
of God’s Essence.
The Rabbis teach us that
the use of this “foreign” word here
is to show God’s ultimate desire that
the Torah descend to and transform
the lowest possible levels of reality.
even to the depraved culture
of the Egyptians and
their modern day continuation.

More information at
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About the Author
Dov Lederberg is engaged in the converging vectors of art and science, but receives added inspiration from Kabbalah teachings & meditation and tries to create visual forms (in paintings on canvas but also video art) conducive to mystical experience and self-transformation. 
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