Every Saturday, the Torah is read, and then it is interpreted by the rabbi. In the Torah portion, Yitro, the people receive the Torah from Mount Sinai. In this story, who do you suppose is the “Torah reader” and who is the “Torah interpreter”? Almost everyone responds that the Torah reader is God. And they would be wrong!
Remember, the people said to Moses, “You speak to us … and we will obey; but let not God speak to us, lest we die” (Exodus 20:16). So here is what happened. God came down on Sinai in a thick cloud. There was thunder, lighting, and smoke. Moses went up, something happened, then Moses went down and spoke to the people (Exodus 19:25), and then in the very next verse (20:1) God responded and “spoke all these words, saying: ‘I am the Eternal your God who brought you out….'” Let me suggest to you that based on these verses, Moses is our “Torah reader” and God is our “interpreter” of Torah. In fact, in Psalm 29:4 we read, “The voice of the Eternal is with power.” The meaning of this verse is that when God interpreted the commandments at Sinai to the men, the women, the children, and to the gentiles, God did so according to each person’s “power” of comprehension.
This commentary helps us understand that the words do have value, but that depending on who we are, some of those words may be appropriately interpreted differently.