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From: rhendel@king.mcs.drexel.edu (Russell Hendel) Date: Wed, 22 May 1996 19:29:50 -0400 Subject: A Thought On Matan Torah As Shavuoth comes along I am reminded of the following question asked me several times over the past few years. SOURCE 1: States that God had to place Har Sinai over us and threaten to kill us before we accepted the Torah. SOURCE 2: States that God went to all the nations and offered them the Torah. One nation refused because of the murder laws, one nation refused because of the adultery laws etc. However we accepted the Torah. It appears that these sources contradict each other. I suggested a (traditional) resolution approach to the two sources just quoted: Apparently God went to each nation and offered them the Torah. There were several refusals (e.g. because of murder, adultery etc). So God then threatened each nation by holding a mountain over them unless they accepted it The nations still refused because e.g. there way of life depended on murder incest etc. Finally when God came to the Jews, they also refused, but when threatened with the mountain they gave in. Note that the above resolution is consistent with BOTH source 1 and source 2. I have two questions: (a) Does anyone know of a source that addresses the issue of the contradiction between source 1 and source 2. (b) I have a question of attitude? Should we be content with asserting that the sources contradict each other and represent different points of view or is it better to attempt to resolve them (in the manner shown above). What is the true attitude we should have between contradictory haggadic texts. Any discussion would be welcome. Russell Hendel, PH.d ASA rhendel @ mcs . drexel .edu