Read and discuss the texts here. There are guiding questions to help you understand better. You can answer these questions here on this document, but your grade today is based on participation and discussion.
Which month are they talking about?
This is the first time in a long time the Torah says "house of Jacob." Why do you think it's used here?
What kinds of images do you think of when you read this phrase? Do you think it is an accurate metaphor for how the Israelites left Egypt?
How can the people of Israel agree to do what God wants them to do if they haven't yet heard what God wants them to do?
Why do you think seeing God as a cloud would make the most sense for the Israelites?
What does "stay pure" mean here?
Which day of the week is the third day?
This next text is a midrash (midrash aggadah, in fact) designed to help people understand the text.
What is the lesson the midrash is trying to pass along?
How does the midrash use the text to prove the argument it's making?
Why is God so concerned that people not touch the mountain?
Who is Moses talking to here? Why would they need to avoid women?
What do you think this experience felt like for the average Israelite? Do you think they were excited? Scared? Nervous? What do you think you would feel if you were there?
According to this midrash Tuesday is a very important day, and all of these events happened on Tuesday. Why is Tuesday such an important day?
What is the symbolism of God coming down and Moses going up?
Why would people die if they looked at God?
Why were the people so afraid to hear God's voice directly?
What are the "ten pronouncements?"
This midrash makes it very clear that the location - the desert - matters a great deal. Why does it matter so much where the Israelites received the Torah and the Ten Commandments? What's the reason?