A Shabbat Message from Mimi… March/6/2021 Adar/22/5781

Dear Sisters,

Since this week’s Torah portion, Parshas Ki Sisa, contains the story of the Golden Calf and Moshe’s (Moses) subsequent breaking of the tablets (luchos), I thought it would be a great opportunity to learn some cool facts about those tablets, and then maybe a lesson or two for ourselves from them.
The image that comes to most people’s minds when we try to picture the tablets is the shape that we see in shuls worldwide, covered in the Ten Commandments (the greatest misnomer in Judaism, there are 14 commandments in them, and they are really the ten sayings…) like this:
While there are many reasons for shuls to make an image of the tablets like that, it is not intended to be a replica of the tablets that Moshe carried.  Indeed the actual tablets were quite different!
Our Sages tell us the original tablets were made out of pure sapphire.  That means that they were a stunning BLUE color.  They were also quite large, and very heavy.  Measuring two feet wide in each direction, we are talking about two giant stones that only Moshe was miraculously strong enough to carry.  Also, unlike almost every artistic representation of them, the tablets were rectangular.  They were not rounded on the top.  (I did see an idea once that we round the tops in images of the tablets to show that these are beliefs we carry in our hearts.  Hence the heart shape.  Beautiful, no?)
There were a few more miracles associated with the tablets.  The Torah tells us that the words of the Ten Sayings were engraved into the stone, and that each letter was engraved all the way through, from front to back.  Even though this was the case, if you saw the back of the tablets the letters were not backward!  This was an awesome miracle, that even though they were engraved all the way through there really was no front or back to the tablets.
Another miracle occurred within the letters themselves.  Some Hebrew letters have a hole in the middle of them, like these:   ם    ס 
If you were to engrave these letters into a stone, all the way through to the back of the stone, how would you make the hole in the middle?  Engraving a letter means the holes you carve are the letter itself.  In that case, the middle would have to be made out of stone, but that piece would have to somehow float.  This would be impossible, except for the miracle that happened.  All the holes in the middle of letters floated!
These are some very cool things about the tablets that Moshe brought down from Sinai.
Rashi, the great medieval commentator, shares another idea with us that is so empowering.  At the same time that Hashem gave us the engraved tablets with the Ten Sayings on them, He gifted us with a special ability.  That is the ability to imitate him, by first engraving and eventually using a machine to write things down that others can read.  What a gift!  Not a day goes by in which all of us do not exercise this unique human ability.  Whether we write on paper like in the olden days (!) or we type on a device, every day we make use of this gift G-d granted us, the ability to put things into writing that we and others can read.
Except, of course, on Shabbos.  Shabbos is the one day a week in which we refrain from using any form of writing.  On Shabbos, we communicate with speech instead, through praying and singing and having meaningful conversations.  The rest of the week we can write all we wish–on Shabbos, we hold back and do not write at all.  Why?  I will leave you with that question, and you can use it as a discussion topic at your Shabbos table tonight.  Send me your thoughts (after Shabbos, of course!); I would love to hear what you come up with.
Have a wonderful Shabbos,
Mimi David
Join me virtually for this thought-provoking class:

Monday, March 22nd — 8:30 pm     Mamas in Pajamas (for all women)
Now more than ever!  Learn something meaningful and inspiring from the comfort of your own home.
Join:  zoom.us/j/9699246316   Dial:  1-312-626-6799, 9699246316

For more information about The Jewish Women’s Society of St. Louis, contact Mimi David at mimidavid@aish.com