Friday Candle Lighting: 7:25 pm
Shabbat Ends: 8:12 pm
“…Carve for yourself two stone Tablets like the first ones…” (10:1)
Even though the G-d told Moshe to make the second two Tablets like the first ones, there were fundamental differences between the two sets. In the first set, not only did G-d write upon the Tablets, He fashioned the Safire stone himself. Both the medium and the message were “G-dly”. The second Tablets were hewn by the hand of Man; only the inscription was Divine.
However, there was a deeper difference between the two sets of Tablets. When we think of the Tablets we think of words engraved on stone, words like any other words. However, in the case of the first Tablets this was not so. The first Tablets did not contain words; they contained speech. This doesn’t mean the Tablets were like some kind of Biblical tape recorder. It means that when you saw the words, you saw in them as G-d speaking them at Sinai. Usually, when someone speaks, their words are present only as long as they are still speaking them. When they stop speaking, the words vanish. The first Tablets perpetuated G-d’s giving the Torah at Sinai, His speech at Sinai. That is what the Torah means when it says “all the people saw the voices…” (Shemot 20:15)
The word davar in Hebrew has the same root as the word for “speech” — dibbur. What is the connection between a thing and speech? Nothing in this physical world can have an existence without its having a spiritual underpinning. What sustains every object in this physical world is G-d’s speaking through that object. That object is no more than G-d’s speaking — it is a dvar, an expression of something that G-dwishes to reveal in His world. In the future we will clearly see the intention behind every thing in Creation, the dibbur behind every davar. This is what the prophet Isaiah means when he writes, “…the Glory of G-d will be revealed, and all flesh together will see that the mouth of G-d has spoken” (40:5). Just as at Sinai G-d’s speech assumed a concrete form, so too at that time in the future, every concrete form will reveal its purpose, its dibbur.
Only the first Tablets contained the level of revelation where it was possible to see the dibbur as though it were an object. Usually a physical object does not reveal the intent of its maker. The first Tablets, however, revealed G-d’s intent — they were a davar that revealed dibbur. However, after the sin of the golden calf the world was a different place. It could no longer contain the level of revelation epitomized by the first set of Tablets. That is why the Tablets suddenly grew heavy in Moshe’s hands, and they fell to the ground. From that time until Mashiach things will not reveal their true identity as being no more than the Word of G-d.