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Shir ha-Shirim XIII: Part Six: Sefirah 15

Rabbi Berechiah said: Rabbi Chelbo taught me: The Statement was inscribed of itself, and when it was inscribed its sound went from one end of the world to the other, as it says, “The voice of God hews out flames of fire.” I said to Rabbi Chelbo: But it is written, “Written with the finger of God?” He said to me: Choker, do you think to choke me? (What a foolish objection!) I said to him: but what after all is meant by, “Tablets of stone, written with the finger of God (Exodus 31:18)?” He replied: it was like a disciple writing while the master guides him. (Shir Hashirim Rabbah 1.2:2, Part Six)


It was the power of the Statement that engraved the words on the Tablets. Rabbi Chelbo did not want to see additional steps between the Statement and its engraving on the Luchot. The Statement was the reality in word and engraved on the Luchot. There is no separation between God’s word and the Torah. They are one and the same. Each time we study Torah we have an opportunity to hear God’s words speaking to us.

When there is an extra step, such as a “finger” engraving the words on the Luchot, we begin to think of Torah in a physical form. Physical things are limited. They end. Even Torah that is acquired through physical means suffers limitations. Logic, review, and intellect, are considered physical and limited. They are human. However, Rabbi Chelbo reminds us, it is possible to study Torah in a Spiritual way, without limitation and boundaries. Torah that is eternal. We must see each letter of the Torah as a direct expression of God’s voice at Sinai. We must listen to each word, not with our bodies, but with our souls; unlimited, and eternal.

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