You said before that the Am Yisroel’s greatness is that they accepted the Torah. But don’t we know that it was only because Hashem held the mountain over them and forced them into it. So what’s so great about that?
Doesn’t it say na’aseh venishma? So they accepted it willingly. How could you say not? Where does it say in the chumash that a mountain was held over their heads?
I don’t know where it says it, but it says it.
It doesn’t say in the chumash at all. It’s a Gemara (Shabbos 88a). But the chumash says openly that they said na’aseh venishma, doesn’t it? So there you have it. The chumash is more important.
And the answer is that they accepted the Torah willingly. It’s like a chosson. A chosson accepted the kallah willingly. He looked at the kallah and he considered it and he decided to go to the chuppah. Now the day came. He put on his bigdei yontif; he’s dressed for the occasion; and the kallah is also dressed.
And the chosson is now standing outside the door of the hall and the caterer is pushing him, “Go in.” And the chosson is thinking now of turning on his tail and running out in the street. But the caterer is holding on tight. He has to. And finally the caterer gives a push and the fellow staggers into the hall.
Now how does it happen that the caterer should give him that push? It’s a reward. Because of his good decision that he made when he was sober; when he wasn’t frightened he made a decision to marry the kallah so therefore he’s rewarded that the caterer gives him a push to help him finish up the job. הבא ליטהר מסעיין לו – if you come to do a good thing, so Hakadosh Baruch Hu helps you to finish it.
So therefore our forefathers made the decision na’aseh venishma; only that when the Torah started being given, the heavens opened up and they saw things. They saw responsibility! A fear came upon them that they never dreamed of. And they were thinking of retracting so Hakadosh Baruch Hu said, “No! No retracting now. Go to the chuppah!” So we really accepted the Torah; only we were given a push to finish it up as a reward for the initial decision.
TAPE # R-70 (May 1973)