Last week the days of the omer were coming to a close as we prepared for Shavuot, the marriage at the mountain. Our sages tell us that when the Children of Israel came to Sinai, Hashem married his people and with the words of Torah as the Ketubah. Our evening Shavuot service was followed by ice cream and cheese cake, but we were just getting started. The men then assembled over at the beit midrash and we setup for an all night Torah study. Through the morning we pondered the deep mysteries of G-d's creation, of the common patterns seen in scripture. We studied the book of Ruth as the unlikely Divine orchestration to propagate the seed of Messiah. After our Ruth study we decided to take a break.
We took a walk through the neighborhood around 3am and witnessed a magnificent meteorite coming down south west of us. Most meteorites I've seen come in small and fast. This one came in slow, was very large and gave off many colors as it broke up. The signs were all around us. It was fire from the mountain.
Meam Loez teaches:
In the Midrash, Resh Lakish said that on the day the Torah was given everything was fire. The Torah itself was written with letters of black fire on a "parchment" of white fire, as it is written, "From His right hand a law of fire to [the Israelites)." (Deuteronomy 33:2) The intermediary Moses was like a burning flame so much so that the Israelites were afraid to come close to him. The angels present at the event were also angels of fire. Even Mount Sinai itself was burning with fire.
Regarding this Moses later told the Israelites, "Upon the earth [God] caused you to see His great fire, and you heard his voice out of the midst of the fire." (Deuteronomy 4:36) On the day that the Torah was given, God allowed the Israelites to see His great fire, and His words could be heard coming out of the flames. This was a most awesome experience.
Also brought to mind was the flame of fire that came down on all the Chasdei Yeshua (Yeshua Believers) in Jerusalem on Shavuot (see Acts 2). The flame separated and hovered as tongues of fire above the disciples heads. They heard each one speaking in their own native tongue. This moment with the Disciples in the Temple was another Sinai moment as we were immersed in the Ruach Hakodesh.
Meam Loez tells us of the original moment when the fire of Hashem's words came down on each Israelite
When the people said to Moses, "You speak to us and we will listen" (Exodus 20:16), they lost this power of memory that they had acquired. From then on, they began to forget what they had learned.
They went back to Moses and told him that they wanted God to speak to them once again so that they would remember everything. Moses replied, "Now this is impossible, but in the Messianic Age your request will be fulfilled."
This is alluded to in God's words, where He said that in the Messianic Age, "I will place My Torah in their innermost being, and I will write it upon their hearts." (Jeremiah 31:33) At this time they will remember everything they learn, without forgetting a single word.
It is written, "God's voice hews flames of fire." (Psalms 29:7) The voice broke through the fire (on the mountain], and the Israelites were able to see each letter with perfect clarity.
Each of God's words followed every Israelite and said to him: "Will you accept me? See how many commandments and laws I contain. Be aware of the punishment for violating me." Hearing this, each Israelite responded positively. The word then kissed the Israelite on the mouth. Moses thus told the Israelites, "Be very careful... lest you forget the things that your eyes saw. (Deuteronomy 4:9) Do not forget that you actually saw God's words; not only that, but they even spoke to you.
After the word spoke to the Israelites and was agreed to, it was then engraved on the tablets. This was true of all the Ten Commandments.
Each word was engraved on the tablets and was heard from one end of the world to the other.
The second miracle the Midrash preserves is the voice of God speaking in every language known to man.
The Torah says, "And all the people saw the voices." Note that it does not say "the voice," but "the voices"; wherefore Rabbi Yochanan said that God's voice, as it was uttered, split up into seventy voices, in seventy languages, so that all the nations should understand. (Shemot Rabbah 5:9 quoting Exodus 20:18)
Rabbi Yochanan said: "What is meant by the verse, 'The Lord announced the word, and great was the company of those who proclaimed it.'? - Every single word that went forth from the Omnipotent was split up into seventy languages." (Shabbat 88b quoting Psalm 68:11)
The School of Rabbi Ishmael taught the meaning of the verse: "and like a hammer that breaks a rock in pieces," just as a hammer is divided into many sparks, so too every single word that went forth from the Holy One, blessed be He, split up into seventy languages. (Shabbat 88b quoting Jeremiah 23:29)
The fire we saw in the night is a reminder of what the Torah from the mountain means to us. The lesson of these midrashim is that though we were gathered as an entire nation at Sinai, Hashem approached each one of us with His revelation. As we opened the ark on Shavuot morning and brought the Torahs out to everyone, it was our time to embrace the fire of Yeshua's presence, the Living Torah. Jeremiah's verse "I will place My Torah in their innermost being, and I will write it upon their hearts" tells us that each flaming letter over our heads is there to etch eternal words of life and love permanently in our hearts. May we hold on to it in our innermost being.