Where was Moses when God gave the Ten Commandments?
Before I answer that easy question, its important to read what specifically happens before God reveals the Ten Commandments at Mt. Sinai. Basically, an eighty-year-old Moses goes up and down Mt. Sinai four times to communicate with God and the people of Israel. Why all the schlepping up and down the mountain for an old man? In one of my classes Marc Rosenberg, a teacher at Pardes (Pardes Link) where I’m studying, taught that it shows that before having a spiritual experience with God, you need to do a lot of preparation and a lot of work.
Now back to my original question: where was Moses when God revealed the Ten Commandments? Moses was actually at the bottom of Mt. Sinai with everyone else.
There it is in Exodus 19 Verse 20, Moses “went to down to the people and spoke to them.” The very next sentence in Verse 20, is God speaking and giving the Ten Commandments.
Marc Rosenberg taught that it was God’s “Plan A” to make a mass revelation. In other words, Moses was no higher than anyone else at Sinai, everyone was at the same level. But that didn’t work. The people freaked out and they fall back at the approach of God and beg Moses to go up and talk to God for them. Too much thunder and lightning can scare people I guess.
So God embarks on “Plan B”, that is he tells Moses and Moses will be the conduit for the people of Israel. But this proves to be problematic because what do people do when Moses isn’t around. They build a Golden Calf.
So, the essence of Marc’s teaching is that God’s original plan is that everyone can have a strong connection to God. Unfortunately, it takes a lot of work, i.e. climbing up and down the mountain, and most people don’t want that. More than that, they are afraid of it. So instead, people push forward “Moses type of people” to communicate with God for them such as Rabbis, Priests, Monks and others. It’s much, much easier to have someone else do the spiritual work for you.
But if you have someone else doing your spiritual work for you, you will find that you have distanced yourself from God and your connection isn’t very strong and its very, very easy build Golden Calves.