and according to the Rabbis, they established eight months that were lacking.
The Gemara cites another objection. Come and hear that which was taught in a baraita in the anthology called Seder Olam: In the month of Nisan during which the Jewish people left Egypt, on the fourteenth they slaughtered their Paschal lambs, on the fifteenth they left Egypt, and that day was Shabbat eve. From the fact that the New Moon of Nisan was on Shabbat eve, we can infer that the New Moon of Iyyar was on the first day of the week, and the New Moon of Sivan was on the second day of the week. This is difficult according to the opinion of Rabbi Yosei, who holds that the New Moon of Sivan was on Sunday. The Gemara answers that Rabbi Yosei could have said to you: Whose is the opinion in this baraita? It is the opinion of the Rabbis. Therefore, this baraita poses no difficulty to the opinion of the Rabbi Yosei.
The Gemara cites another objection: Come and hear from that which was taught, that Rabbi Yosei says: On the second day of Sivan, Moses ascended Mount Sinai and descended. On the third day, he ascended and descended. On the fourth day, he descended and did not ascend Mount Sinai again until he was commanded along with all of the Jewish people. And the Gemara asks: How is it possible that he descended on the fourth day? Since he did not ascend, from where did he descend? Rather, this must be emended: On the fourth day, he ascended and descended. On the fifth day, he built an altar and sacrificed an offering. On the sixth day, he had no time. The Gemara asks: Is that not because he received the Torah on the sixth day of the month? Apparently, this baraita supports the opinion of the Rabbis.
The Gemara rejects this: No, he had no time due to the burden of preparing for Shabbat. The Gemara adds: A Galilean taught, while standing above Rav Ḥisda: Blessed is the all-Merciful One, Who gave the three-fold Torah: Torah, Prophets, and Writings, to the three-fold nation: Priests, Levites, and Israelites, by means of a third-born: Moses, who followed Aaron and Miriam in birth order, on the third day of the separation of men and women, in the third month: Sivan. On whose opinion is this homily based? It is based on the opinion of the Rabbis, who hold that the Torah was given on the third day of separation and not on the fourth day.
The Gemara cites additional homiletic interpretations on the topic of the revelation at Sinai. The Torah says, “And Moses brought forth the people out of the camp to meet God; and they stood at the lowermost part of the mount” (Exodus 19:17). Rabbi Avdimi bar Ḥama bar Ḥasa said: the Jewish people actually stood beneath the mountain, and the verse teaches that the Holy One, Blessed be He, overturned the mountain above the Jews like a tub, and said to them: If you accept the Torah, excellent, and if not, there will be your burial. Rav Aḥa bar Ya’akov said: From here there is a substantial caveat to the obligation to fulfill the Torah. The Jewish people can claim that they were coerced into accepting the Torah, and it is therefore not binding. Rava said: Even so, they again accepted it willingly in the time of Ahasuerus, as it is written: “The Jews ordained, and took upon them, and upon their seed, and upon all such as joined themselves unto them” (Esther 9:27), and he taught: The Jews ordained what they had already taken upon themselves through coercion at Sinai.
Ḥizkiya said: What is the meaning of that which is written: “You caused sentence to be heard from heaven; the earth feared, and was silent” (Psalms 76:9)? If it was afraid, why was it silent; and if it was silent, why was it afraid? Rather, the meaning is: At first, it was afraid, and in the end, it was silent. “You caused sentence to be heard from heaven” refers to the revelation at Sinai. And why was the earth afraid? It is in accordance with the statement of Reish Lakish, as Reish Lakish said: What is the meaning of that which is written: “And there was evening and there was morning, the sixth day” (Genesis 1:31)? Why do I require the superfluous letter heh, the definite article, which does not appear on any of the other days? It teaches that the Holy One, Blessed be He, established a condition with the act of Creation, and said to them: If Israel accepts the Torah on the sixth day of Sivan, you will exist; and if they do not accept it, I will return you to the primordial state of chaos and disorder. Therefore, the earth was afraid until the Torah was given to Israel, lest it be returned to a state of chaos. Once the Jewish people accepted the Torah, the earth was calmed.
Rabbi Simai taught: When Israel accorded precedence to the declaration “We will do” over the declaration “We will hear,” 600,000 ministering angels came and tied two crowns to each and every member of the Jewish people, one corresponding to “We will do” and one corresponding to “We will hear.” And when the people sinned with the Golden Calf, 1,200,000 angels of destruction descended and removed them from the people, as it is stated in the wake of the sin of the Golden Calf: “And the children of Israel stripped themselves of their ornaments from Mount Horeb onward” (Exodus 33:6). Rabbi Ḥama, son of Rabbi Ḥanina, said: At Horeb they put on their ornaments, and at Horeb they removed them. The source for this is: At Horeb they put them on, as we have said; at Horeb they removed them, as it is written: “And the children of Israel stripped themselves of their ornaments from Mount Horeb.” Rabbi Yoḥanan said: And Moses merited all of these crowns and took them. What is the source for this? Because juxtaposed to this verse, it is stated: “And Moses would take the tent [ohel]” (Exodus 33:7). The word ohel is interpreted homiletically as an allusion to an aura or illumination [hila]. Reish Lakish said: In the future, the Holy One, Blessed be He, will return them to us, as it is stated: “And the ransomed of the Lord shall return, and come with singing unto Zion, and everlasting joy shall be upon their heads” (Isaiah 35:10). The joy that they once had will once again be upon their heads.
Rabbi Elazar said: When the Jewish people accorded precedence to the declaration “We will do” over “We will hear,” a Divine Voice emerged and said to them: Who revealed to my children this secret that the ministering angels use? As it is written: “Bless the Lord, you angels of His, you mighty in strength, that fulfill His word, hearkening unto the voice of His word” (Psalms 103:20). At first, the angels fulfill His word, and then afterward they hearken. Rabbi Ḥama, son of Rabbi Ḥanina, said: What is the meaning of that which is written: “As an apple tree among the trees of the wood, so is my beloved among the sons. Under its shadow I delighted to sit and its fruit was sweet to my taste” (Song of Songs 2:3)? Why were the Jewish people likened to an apple tree? It is to tell you that just as this apple tree, its fruit grows before its leaves, so too, the Jewish people accorded precedence to “We will do” over “We will hear.”
The Gemara relates that a heretic saw that Rava was immersed in studying halakha, and his fingers were beneath his leg and he was squeezing them, and his fingers were spurting blood. Rava did not notice that he was bleeding because he was engrossed in study. The heretic said to Rava: You impulsive nation, who accorded precedence to your mouths over your ears. You still bear your impulsiveness, as you act without thinking. You should listen first. Then, if you are capable of fulfilling the commands, accept them. And if not, do not accept them. He said to him: About us,