The Sephardic Community of Fair Lawn, New Jersey

NOT MEANT FOR ANGELS- A Midrash for Shavuot

Rabbi Joshua Ben Levi told this Midrash.

When Moses went up to heaven, the angels said to God, “What is a human being doing here?”
God said to them, “He has come to receive the Torah.”
The angels asked, “Is it the precious hidden treasure which you hid nine hundred and seventy-four generations before the world was created that you seek to give to flesh and blood now? Why give it to them?”
God then said to Moses, “Respond to them, Moses!”
Moses asked God, “Master of the universe, what is written in this Torah which you are about to give me?” “I am the Lord thy God who brought thee out of the land of Egypt.” (Exodus 29:2) Moses said to the angels, “Did you go down to Egypt? Were you enslaved to Pharaoh? Then what is the Torah to you?”
Moses continued by asking, “What else is written in it?” “Thou shalt have no other gods.” (Ibid v.3) Moses said to the angels, “Are you surrounded by nations that worship other gods?”
Then he again asked God, “What else is written in the Torah?” “Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy.” (Ibid v.8) Again Moses asked the angels a question, “Do you do any labor that you need to rest?”
And of God he asked, “What else is written in it?” “Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain.” (Ibid v.7) So Moses asked the angels, “Is there any commerce, any give and take among you?”
“What else is written in it?” he asked God. “Honor they father and thy mother.” (Ibid v.12) “Do you have fathers and mothers?”
“What else is written in it?” “Thou shalt no murder. Thou shalt not commit adultery. Thou shalt not steal.” (Ibid v.13)
One last time Moses asked the angels a question: “Is there any jealousy among you? Is there any will to do evil among you?”
All the angels agreed, at once, that it is human beings who should have the Torah.
The Torah is the essence of the Jewish people, our very life and soul. Without it we literally have no existence.


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