It’s Not What It Seems by Rabbi Ezra Weiner


In describing the Luchot the Pasuk states “Vihaluchot Maase Elokeem Hayma, Vehamichtav Michtav Elokeem Hu, Charut Al Haluchot,” “And the Luchot were a work of Hashem and the writing was a writing of Hashem, engraved on the Luchot.”  Rav Shlomo Shwadron in his sefer Lev Shalom asks the following question on this Pasuk.  If the Torah has already described the entire Luchot as a “Maase Elokeem,” “A work of Hashem,” then it is self-evident that the Michtav, writing, which is part of the Luchot is also “Michtav Elokeem,” “Writing of Hashem.”  Secondly, if the writing was engraved as the Pasuk says, “Charut,” then how could the engraving be “Al Haluchot,” “On the Luchot?”  Writing that is engraved is fashioned into a surface not on a surface.  If Hashem had written the Aseret Hadibrot, the Ten Commandments, in ink then would the word “Al,” “on,” be appropriate.

Rav Shwadron explains as follows.  There is an advantage and disadvantage to engraving and there is an advantage and disadvantage to writing with ink.  Engraving allows for the writing and the surface to become one entity.  However, part of the surface is lost.  Writing with ink, on the other hand, takes nothing away from the surface yet it remains above the surface as a separate entity.  We are all familiar with the miracles exhibited in the Luchot.  The letters Mem and Samech floated in the air and the Aseret Hadibrot could be read from either side of the Luchot.  Rav Shwadron suggests based on the above Pasuk an additional miracle.  The Luchot were the work of Hashem in both its engraved aspect and its written aspect.  The words were in fact engraved and thus became one entity with the surface of the Luchot.  On the other hand, the words were “Michtav,” written, as well in the sense that miraculously there was nothing missing from the original stone that existed prior to the engraving.

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