עֲבוֹדָה זָרָה? שׁוּב: מָה כְּתִיב בָּהּ? ״זָכוֹר אֶת יוֹם הַשַּׁבָּת לְקַדְּשׁוֹ״ — כְּלוּם אַתֶּם עוֹשִׂים מְלָאכָה, שֶׁאַתֶּם צְרִיכִין שְׁבוּת? שׁוּב: מָה כְּתִיב בָּהּ? ״לֹא תִשָּׂא״ — מַשָּׂא וּמַתָּן יֵשׁ בֵּינֵיכֶם? שׁוּב: מָה כְּתִיב בָּהּ? ״כַּבֵּד אֶת אָבִיךָ וְאֶת אִמֶּךָ״ — אָב וָאֵם יֵשׁ לָכֶם? שׁוּב: מָה כְּתִיב בָּהּ? ״לֹא תִּרְצָח״, ״לֹא תִּנְאָף״, ״לֹא תִּגְנֹב״. קִנְאָה יֵשׁ בֵּינֵיכֶם? יֵצֶר הָרָע יֵשׁ בֵּינֵיכֶם? מִיָּד הוֹדוּ לוֹ לְהַקָּדוֹשׁ בָּרוּךְ הוּא, שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר: ״ה׳ אֲדֹנֵינוּ מָה אַדִּיר שִׁמְךָ וְגוֹ׳״, וְאִילּוּ ״תְּנָה הוֹדְךָ עַל הַשָּׁמָיִם״ לָא כְּתִיב.
idols that you require this special warning? Again Moses asked: What else is written in it? The Holy One, Blessed be He, said to him: “Remember the Shabbat day to sanctify it” (Exodus 20:8). Moses asked the angels: Do you perform labor that you require rest from it? Again Moses asked: What else is written in it? “Do not take the name of the Lord your God in vain” (Exodus 20:7), meaning that it is prohibited to swear falsely. Moses asked the angels: Do you conduct business with one another that may lead you to swear falsely? Again Moses asked: What else is written in it? The Holy One, Blessed be He, said to him: “Honor your father and your mother” (Exodus 20:12). Moses asked the angels: Do you have a father or a mother that would render the commandment to honor them relevant to you? Again Moses asked: What else is written in it? God said to him: “You shall not murder, you shall not commit adultery, you shall not steal” (Exodus 20:13) Moses asked the angels: Is there jealousy among you, or is there an evil inclination within you that would render these commandments relevant? Immediately they agreed with the Holy One, Blessed be He, that He made the right decision to give the Torah to the people, and as it is stated: “God our Lord, how glorious is Your name in all the earth” (Psalms 8:10), while “that Your majesty is placed above the heavens” is not written because the angels agreed with God that it is appropriate to give the Torah to the people on earth.
מִיָּד כׇּל אֶחָד וְאֶחָד נַעֲשָׂה לוֹ אוֹהֵב וּמָסַר לוֹ דָּבָר, שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר: ״עָלִיתָ לַמָּרוֹם שָׁבִיתָ שֶּׁבִי לָקַחְתָּ מַתָּנוֹת בָּאָדָם״ — בִּשְׂכַר שֶׁקְּרָאוּךְ ״אָדָם״, לָקַחְתָּ מַתָּנוֹת. אַף מַלְאַךְ הַמָּוֶת מָסַר לוֹ דָּבָר, שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר: ״וַיִּתֵּן אֶת הַקְּטֹרֶת וַיְכַפֵּר עַל הָעָם״, וְאוֹמֵר: ״וַיַּעֲמֹד בֵּין הַמֵּתִים וּבֵין הַחַיִּים וְגוֹ׳״ — אִי לָאו דַּאֲמַר לֵיהּ מִי הֲוָה יָדַע?
Immediately, each and every one of the angels became an admirer of Moses and passed something to him, as it is stated: “You ascended on high, you took a captive, you took gifts on account of man, and even among the rebellious also that the Lord God might dwell there” (Psalms 68:19). The meaning of the verse is: In reward for the fact that they called you man, you are not an angel and the Torah is applicable to you, you took gifts from the angels. And even the Angel of Death gave him something, as Moses told Aaron how to stop the plague, as it is stated: “And he placed the incense, and he atoned for the people” (Numbers 17:12). And the verse says: “And he stood between the dead and the living, and the plague was stopped” (Numbers 17:13). If it were not that the Angel of Death told him this remedy, would he have known it?
וְאָמַר רַבִּי יְהוֹשֻׁעַ בֶּן לֵוִי: בְּשָׁעָה שֶׁיָּרַד מֹשֶׁה מִלִּפְנֵי הַקָּדוֹשׁ בָּרוּךְ הוּא, בָּא שָׂטָן וְאָמַר לְפָנָיו: רִבּוֹנוֹ שֶׁל עוֹלָם, תּוֹרָה הֵיכָן הִיא? אָמַר לוֹ: נְתַתִּיהָ לָאָרֶץ. הָלַךְ אֵצֶל אֶרֶץ, אָמַר לָהּ: תּוֹרָה הֵיכָן הִיא? אָמְרָה לוֹ: ״אֱלֹהִים הֵבִין דַּרְכָּהּ וְגוֹ׳״. הָלַךְ אֵצֶל יָם, וְאָמַר לוֹ: ״אֵין עִמָּדִי״. הָלַךְ אֵצֶל תְּהוֹם, אָמַר לוֹ: ״אֵין בִּי״. שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר: ״תְּהוֹם אָמַר לֹא בִי הִיא וְיָם אָמַר אֵין עִמָּדִי״, ״אֲבַדּוֹן וָמָוֶת אָמְרוּ בְּאׇזְנֵינוּ שָׁמַעְנוּ שִׁמְעָהּ״. חָזַר וְאָמַר לִפְנֵי הַקָּדוֹשׁ בָּרוּךְ הוּא: רִבּוֹנוֹ שֶׁל עוֹלָם, חִיפַּשְׂתִּי בְּכׇל הָאָרֶץ וְלֹא מְצָאתִיהָ. אָמַר לוֹ: לֵךְ אֵצֶל בֶּן עַמְרָם.
And Rabbi Yehoshua ben Levi said: When Moses descended from standing before the Holy One, Blessed be He, with the Torah, Satan came and said before Him: Master of the Universe, where is the Torah?
He said to him: I have given it to the earth. He went to the earth, and said to it: Where is the Torah? It said to him: I do not know, as only: “God understands its way, and He knows its place” (Job 28:23).
He went to the sea and asked: Where is the Torah? And the sea said to him: “It is not with me.”
He went to the depths and asked: Where is the Torah? And the depths said to him: “It is not within me.” And from where is it derived that the sea and the depths answered him this way? As it is stated: “The depth said: It is not within me, and the sea said: It is not with me” (Job 28:14). “Destruction and death said: We heard a rumor of it with our ears” (Job 28:22).
Satan returned and said before the Holy One, Blessed be He: Master of the Universe, I searched for the Torah throughout all the earth and did not find it. He said to him: Go to Moses, son of Amram.
הָלַךְ אֵצֶל מֹשֶׁה אָמַר לוֹ: תּוֹרָה שֶׁנָּתַן לְךָ הַקָּדוֹשׁ בָּרוּךְ הוּא הֵיכָן הִיא? אָמַר לוֹ: וְכִי מָה אֲנִי שֶׁנָּתַן לִי הַקָּדוֹשׁ בָּרוּךְ הוּא תּוֹרָה? אָמַר לוֹ הַקָּדוֹשׁ בָּרוּךְ הוּא לְמֹשֶׁה: מֹשֶׁה, בַּדַּאי אַתָּה?! אָמַר לְפָנָיו: רִבּוֹנוֹ שֶׁל עוֹלָם, חֶמְודָּה גְּנוּזָה יֵשׁ לְךָ שֶׁאַתָּה מִשְׁתַּעֲשֵׁעַ בָּהּ בְּכׇל יוֹם, אֲנִי אַחְזִיק טוֹבָה לְעַצְמִי? אָמַר לוֹ הַקָּדוֹשׁ בָּרוּךְ הוּא לְמֹשֶׁה: הוֹאִיל וּמִיעַטְתָּ עַצְמְךָ תִּקָּרֵא עַל שִׁמְךָ, שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר: ״זִכְרוּ תּוֹרַת מֹשֶׁה עַבְדִּי וְגוֹ׳״.
He went to Moses and said to him: The Torah that the Holy One, Blessed be He, gave you, where is it? Moses evaded the question and said to him: And what am I that the Holy One, Blessed be He, would have given me the Torah? I am unworthy. The Holy One, Blessed be He, said to Moses: Moses, are you a fabricator? Moses said before Him: Master of the Universe, You have a hidden treasure in which You delight every day, as it is stated: “And I was His delight every day, playing before Him at every moment” (Proverbs 8:30). Should I take credit for myself and say that You gave it to me? The Holy One, Blessed be He, said to Moses: Since you belittled yourself, the Torah will be called by your name, as it is stated: “Remember the Torah of Moses My servant to whom I commanded at Horeb laws and statutes for all of Israel” (Malachi 3:22).
וְאָמַר רַבִּי יְהוֹשֻׁעַ בֶּן לֵוִי: בְּשָׁעָה שֶׁעָלָה מֹשֶׁה לַמָּרוֹם מְצָאוֹ לְהַקָּדוֹשׁ בָּרוּךְ הוּא שֶׁהָיָה קוֹשֵׁר כְּתָרִים לָאוֹתִיּוֹת. אָמַר לוֹ: מֹשֶׁה, אֵין שָׁלוֹם בְּעִירְךָ? אָמַר לְפָנָיו: כְּלוּם יֵשׁ עֶבֶד שֶׁנּוֹתֵן שָׁלוֹם לְרַבּוֹ? אָמַר לוֹ: הָיָה לְךָ לְעׇזְרֵנִי, מִיָּד אָמַר לוֹ: ״וְעַתָּה יִגְדַּל נָא כֹּחַ ה׳ כַּאֲשֶׁר דִּבַּרְתָּ״.
And Rabbi Yehoshua ben Levi said: When Moses ascended on High, he found the Holy One, Blessed be He, tying crowns to letters. On the tops of certain letters there are ornamental crownlets. Moses said nothing, and God said to him: Moses, is there no greeting in your city? Do people not greet each other in your city? He said before Him: Does a servant greet his master? That would be disrespectful. He said to him: At least you should have assisted Me and wished Me success in My work. Immediately he said to Him: “And now, may the power of the Lord be great as you have spoken” (Numbers 14:17).
אָמַר רַבִּי יְהוֹשֻׁעַ בֶּן לֵוִי: מַאי דִּכְתִיב: ״וַיַּרְא הָעָם כִּי בֹשֵׁשׁ מֹשֶׁה״ — אַל תִּקְרֵי ״בּוֹשֵׁשׁ״, אֶלָּא ״בָּאוּ שֵׁשׁ״. בְּשָׁעָה שֶׁעָלָה מֹשֶׁה לַמָּרוֹם אָמַר לָהֶן לְיִשְׂרָאֵל: לְסוֹף אַרְבָּעִים יוֹם בִּתְחִלַּת שֵׁשׁ אֲנִי בָּא. לְסוֹף אַרְבָּעִים יוֹם בָּא שָׂטָן וְעִירְבֵּב אֶת הָעוֹלָם. אָמַר לָהֶן: מֹשֶׁה רַבְּכֶם הֵיכָן הוּא? אָמְרוּ לוֹ: עָלָה לַמָּרוֹם. אָמַר לָהֶן: בָּאוּ שֵׁשׁ, וְלֹא הִשְׁגִּיחוּ עָלָיו. מֵת, וְלֹא הִשְׁגִּיחוּ עָלָיו. הֶרְאָה לָהֶן דְּמוּת מִטָּתוֹ, וְהַיְינוּ דְּקָאָמְרִי לֵיהּ לְאַהֲרֹן: ״כִּי זֶה מֹשֶׁה הָאִישׁ וְגוֹ׳״.
And Rabbi Yehoshua ben Levi said: What is the meaning of that which is written: “And the people saw that Moses delayed [boshesh] to come down from the mount” (Exodus 32:1)? Do not read the word in the verse as boshesh; rather, read it as ba’u shesh, six hours have arrived. When Moses ascended on High, he told the Jewish people: In forty days, at the beginning of six hours, I will come. After forty days, Satan came and brought confusion to the world by means of a storm, and it was impossible to ascertain the time. Satan said to the Jews: Where is your teacher Moses? They said to him: He ascended on High. He said to them: Six hours have arrived and he has not yet come. Surely he won’t. And they paid him no attention. Satan said to them: Moses died. And they paid him no attention. Ultimately, he showed them an image of his death-bed and an image of Moses’ corpse in a cloud. And that is what the Jewish people said to Aaron: “For this Moses, the man who brought us up out of the land of Egypt, we know not what has become of him” (Exodus 32:1).
אֲמַר לֵיהּ הָהוּא מֵרַבָּנַן לְרַב כָּהֲנָא: מִי שְׁמִיעַ לָךְ מַאי ״הַר סִינַי״? אֲמַר לֵיהּ: הַר שֶׁנַּעֲשׂוּ בּוֹ נִסִּים לְיִשְׂרָאֵל. ״הַר נִיסַּאי״ מִיבְּעֵי לֵיהּ! אֶלָּא: הַר שֶׁנַּעֲשָׂה סִימָן טוֹב לְיִשְׂרָאֵל. ״הַר סִימָנַאי״ מִיבְּעֵי לֵיהּ! אֲמַר לֵיהּ: מַאי טַעְמָא לָא שְׁכִיחַתְּ קַמֵּיהּ דְּרַב פָּפָּא וְרַב הוּנָא בְּרֵיהּ דְּרַב יְהוֹשֻׁעַ דִּמְעַיְּינִי בְּאַגָּדְתָּא? דְּרַב חִסְדָּא וְרַבָּה בְּרֵיהּ דְּרַב הוּנָא דְּאָמְרִי תַּרְוַויְיהוּ: מַאי ״הַר סִינַי״? הַר שֶׁיָּרְדָה שִׂנְאָה לְאֻמּוֹת הָעוֹלָם עָלָיו. וְהַיְינוּ דְּאָמַר רַבִּי יוֹסֵי בְּרַבִּי חֲנִינָא: חֲמִשָּׁה שֵׁמוֹת יֵשׁ לוֹ: מִדְבַּר צִין — שֶׁנִּצְטַוּוּ יִשְׂרָאֵל עָלָיו; מִדְבַּר קָדֵשׁ — שֶׁנִּתְקַדְּשׁוּ יִשְׂרָאֵל עָלָיו; מִדְבַּר קְדֵמוֹת — שֶׁנִּתְּנָה קְדוּמָה עָלָיו; מִדְבַּר פָּארָן —
One of the Sages said to Rav Kahana: Did you hear what is the reason that the mountain was called Mount Sinai? Rav Kahana said to him: It is because it is a mountain upon which miracles [nissim] were performed for the Jewish people. The Sage said to him: If so, it should have been called Mount Nisai, the mountain of miracles. Rather, Rav Kahana said to him: It is a mountain that was a good omen [siman] for the Jewish people. The Sage said to him: If so, it should have been called Har Simanai, the mountain of omens. Rav Kahana said to him: What is the reason that you do not frequent the school where you can study before Rav Pappa and Rav Huna, son of Rav Yehoshua, who study aggada? As Rav Ḥisda and Rabba, son of Rav Huna, both said: What is the reason it is called Mount Sinai? It is because it is a mountain upon which hatred [sina] for the nations of the world descended because they did not accept the Torah. And that is what Rabbi Yosei, son of Rabbi Ḥanina, said: The desert in which Israel remained for forty years has five names. Each name has a source and a rationale: The Zin Desert, because the Jewish people were commanded [nitztavu] in it; the Kadesh Desert, because the Jewish people were sanctified [nitkadshu] in it. The Kedemot Desert, because the ancient [keduma] Torah, which preceded the world, was given in it. The Paran Desert,