Study Aid for Recorded Lecture:
The Four Audio Visual Images at Mount Sinai
The Torah gives a four-image description of the experience of Israel at the giving of the Torah at Mount Sinai.
The people saw:
- The voices
- The torches
- The blast of the shofar
- The smoking mountain
The second and fourth images are visual. Paradoxically, the first and third images are actually audio images that at Sinai were perceived visually as well. This is because the experience reached such a deep point in the soul that the physical senses intermingled.
The first three revelations are supernatural. They did not take hold in reality. The fourth image of the smoking mountain is physical. The fire took hold of the mountain and was seen in reality as smoke.
These four images correspond to the four letters of God’s Name:
|image||letter of Havayah||sefirah||touched reality through||manifestation|
|voices||yud||wisdom (chochmah)||eye||sound of Ten Commandments being spoken by God|
|torches||hei||understanding (binah)||mind||perception of heavenly torch|
|shofar||vav||six emotions of heart (chesed to yesod)||heart||shofar awakens emotions|
union of three dimensions of reality
The final image of smoke is the one that lingers longest in our mind and that should accompany us as we daily receive the Torah anew. What does smoke represent?
The Three Dimensions of “Smoke”
|Hebrew letter||dimension||coordinates||power||positive manifestation||Hebrew meaning||experience|
|to discern between light and darkness||light||eye||to correctly perceive reality|
|shin||time (shanah)||past-future||to discern between truth and falsehood||truth||tooth
|to correctly integrate reality|
|good-bad||to discern between good and evil||good|
When we meditate on the image of the smoking mountain, we should attempt to experience the merging of light, truth and good, and unite the perceptions of sight and taste to merit to receive the Torah anew every day.