08.06.2011 6.Siwan, 5771 Schawuot 1
Why did Moses go up Mount Sinai twice?
The Middle Eastern practice of dual proceedings in reaching important deals, agreements or covenants may provide and explanation.
There have been many attempts to clarify why Moses went up Mount Sinai twice. Recent archeological research likely provides a correct answer to this question and testifies to both the originality and the antiquity of the biblical text.
The giving of the Torah to Israel on Mount Sinai, whether oral or written, was the most momentous event in the Jewish people’s history. The once-wandering Israelite tribe that had just escaped from Egypt created, under the leadership of Moses, a new kind of society. Josephus, in the first century CE, defined this as a “theocracy,” or “placing all sovereignty in the hands of God.” Centuries later, our sages understood this as “taking on the yoke of the Kingdom of Heaven” (Berachot 2, 2). The text of the principles and laws of the newly created nation was deposited in the specially prepared and decorated Holy Ark….