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Beit Hamidrash

The Secret of Naaseh Vnishma


"[Moshe] took the Book of the Covenant and read it in the ears of the people, and they said, All that Hashem has spoken we will do and we will hear [Naaseh Vnishma]! (Shmot 19:8 )



"[Moshe] took the Book of the Covenant and read it in the ears of the people, and they said, 'All that Hashem has spoken we will do and we will hear [Na'aseh V'nishma]!' (Sh'mot 19:8 )


"Said Rabbi Elazar: at the moment Yisrael said "Naaseh" (we shall do) before they said "Nishma" (we shall hear), a voice descended from heaven and said to them: 'Who has revealed to my children this secret that the attending angels utilize?'"(Shabbat 88a)


Usually, we tend to think that "Na'aseh V'nishma" is an act of total subjection to Hashem's will; it is an act of absolute acceptance of the Torah in its entirety without questioning and inquiring. Without a doubt, that's a level of greatness. Achieving such a level of strong belief and undoubting trust is not a thing we can underestimate. Nevertheless, such a concept is actually found in most religions. Most religions are based on the premise that the believer should subject himself to the power in which he believes, since he acknowledges the might of his lord.  Is that the real secret of "Na'aseh V'nishma"? If so, why all the other religions seem to be based on this too?


Apparently there is some secret hidden within the concept of Na'aseh V'nishma. Rav Kook in one of his essays on Ma'amrei Hareya (Part I, 171) had a profound insight on this issue.  "Every piece of information, which is found in nature does not require any precedent in order to be repeated. A bee, for example, can construct its beehive in a singularly accurate method without hearing any lesson of geometry, because this knowledge is imprinted instinctively in its nature" (Rav Kook, Ibid).  A wisdom, which is internal, can be studied and actualized without any need to hear before doing because it can be naturally felt. An artist for instance, is able to produce a basic level of art, because of an internal talent with which he is born. This talent is natural. Of course he will learn and hear in order to develop his talent, but that can be done only if he already starts out with the basic raw talent for fulfilling those skills. "Also in the spiritual world, the angels do not need to hear Hashem's commandments, because their holiness is natural" (Ibid). The Attending angels do not need to hear before they do. They are, in a natural way sensing G-d's will. "Only humans who might be perplexed by false knowledge and chaos, need to make effort in order to restore the pure spiritual nature...And we, in Mount Sinai returned to this level of greatness and became PURE NATURAL ISRAELITES and therefore we used 'Na'aseh' before 'Nishma' above all false culture of the humanity". When we stood in front of Mount Sinai, we started to feel the Torah from the innermost source - ourselves.  We didn't need to hear before doing; we could instinctively sense G-d's will and do the commandments naturally. Only then we referred to hearing in order to improve and develop our natural talent - the inborn Torah.  Therefore, in our response 'Na'aseh' preceded 'Nishma'. This is the real Limud Torah. We do not learn Torah from external sources but rather absorb it from our internal being. Only then we use the external knowledge in order to develop our spiritual acknowledgment. This is the way to become a "PURE NATURAL ISRAELITE".