In this week’s Torah Portion Yitro, Moses writes and then reads aloud the words of the Torah and all the people respond “na’aseh v’nishma,” “We will do and we will hear” (24:7). The people of Israel accept the Torah as there own, but the rabbis notice that the order of their response to Moses seems backwards. Shouldn’t they have said: “We will listen to these words of Torah and then we will do them”?
I mean who says to God: “Yes I will do all that you ask,” and only then listens to what needs to be done? Apparently we do. And, in terms of the eternal covenant between God and the Children of Israel, this does make sense. If a friend or a parent or someone you love were to say: “Will you do something for me?” Might you not respond: “Sure, what is it?”
God is offering you the Torah, a path of justice and righteousness for you to walk. The question now becomes, what will you say, and what will you do?
Yitro brings his daughter Zipporah and her two sons, Gershom and Eliezer, to his son-in-law Moses. (18:1-12)
Moses follows Yitro’s advice and appoints judges to help him lead the people. (18:13-27)
The Children of Israel camp in front of Mount Sinai. Upon hearing the covenant, the Israelites respond, “All that God has spoken we will do.” (19:1-8)
After three days of preparation, the Israelites encounter God at Mount Sinai. (19:9-25)
God gives the Ten Commandments aloud directly to the people. (20:1-14)
Frightened, the Children of Israel ask Moses to serve as an intermediary between God and them. Moses tells the people not to be afraid. (20:15-18)