|Victor Majzner. Yitro. Copyright: © Victor Majzner 2008.|
"They said to Moshè: You speak to us and we shall hear; let G-d not speak to us lest we die." (Shemot. 20:16)
Rabbi Yehudah said: When the Jewish people heard the first of the 10 Commandments, the Torah became deeply implanted in their hearts.
Anything they learned in Torah, they would never forget. The yetzer hara (evil impulse) was also taken away from them. But then they asked Moses to receive the Torah for them and then afterwards to tell them what G-d said. After that, they began to forget what they learned, just like regular people. They said to themselves, "When we heard the Torah from G-d, who lives forever, we remembered forever. Now that we hear it from Moses, who won't live forever, we forget!" The yetzer hara also returned to them. They went back to Moses, and asked to once again receive the Torah directly from G-d. But he answered, "It will once again happen, but not now. It will in the days of Mashiach." And only at that time will the yetzer hara be removed, as said by Ezekiel (34: ), "And I will remove the heart of stone from within you."
(Based on Shir Hashirim Rabbah 1:15 quoted in Torah Shleimah 20:455.Reprinted from Moshiach Resource Center)