296. Rabbi Aba said, It is written, "And all the people perceived the thunderings (lit. 'saw the voices')" (Shemot 20:15). HE ASKS, WHY IS IT WRITTEN "see," rather than 'hear?' AND HE ANSWERS that we have already learned that those voices were carved upon the darkness, cloud and the fog, visible as a body is. And they saw whatever it was they saw, and heard what they heard from within the darkness, cloud and fog. And because they saw that sight they were illuminated with a supernal illumination and knew things beyond the understanding of all other generations to come.
297. All of them saw face to face, as it is written, "Hashem talked with you face to face" (Devarim 5:4). And what did they see? Rabbi Yosi explains, From the illumination of those voices, as there was not a voice that did not shine, they could see all things hidden and veiled which will never be revealed to succeeding generations until the days of King Messiah. Therefore it is written, "And all the people see the voices," for they actually saw.
298. Rabbi Elazar said, "And all the people see" means, as we have said, that they saw all those wonderful things that no generation after will ever see, by means of the illumination of those voices. "...The voices..." has the same meaning as in the verse, "I saw Hashem" (Yeshayah 6:1). It is written, "Hashem" preceded by the particle Et, WHICH MEANS THAT HE SAW THE SHECHINAH WHICH IS CALLED 'ET.' In this verse too it is written, "And all the people see the voices," with the particle Et (lit. 'the'), TO INDICATE THAT THEY SAW THE SHECHINAH.
299. In the same manner we can explain the verse, "the heaven and the earth" (Beresheet 1:1), for all the "Et (lit. 'the')" particles mentioned in the Torah enable us to have the perception of wisdom - as in the verse, "Honor (et) your father and (et) your mother" (Shemot 20:12) and the verse, "Honor (et) Hashem with your substance" (Mishlei 3:8). These verses ARE EXPLAINED as including something in addition. Here too, "the voices" include that other voice below, WHICH IS MALCHUT, which gathers into itself the other voices and that which emerges from them. In it, IN MALCHUT, the people saw and beheld, through sublime Wisdom, all the celestial treasures and all the hidden mysteries which were never revealed to succeeding generations or to any far away generations, and will not be revealed until the days of King Messiah. As it is written, "For they shall see eye to eye Hashem returning to Zion" (Yeshayah 52:8). HE ASKS, Why is "the lightning" called first "lightning (Heb. berakim)," (Shemot 19:16) and afterwards "lightning (Heb. lapidim)?" AND HE ANSWERS that both of them have one meaning, for when THE BERAKIM are quite formed and ready to appear, they are called LAPIDIM.
300. "...The sound in the Shofar..." (Shemot 20:15). Rabbi Yitzchak says, It is written, "Elohim has spoken once, twice have I heard this" (Tehilim 62:12). This is similar to: "I am Hashem your Elohim," and, "You shall not make for yourself" (Shemot 20:2). "I AM" SIGNIFIES THE SECRET OF BINAH, AND "YOU SHALL NOT MAKE FOR YOURSELF" SIGNIFIES THE SECRET OF ZEIR ANPIN, AND BOTH OF THEM WERE UTTERED AT ONCE. IN THIS VERSE, TOO, THE SOUND IS ZEIR ANPIN AND THE SHOFAR IS BINAH, AND BOTH WERE UTTERED AT THE SAME TIME.
301. Rabbi Yehuda said, It should have said 'the sound in the Shofar;' why DOES IT SAY "of the Shofar?" AND HE ANSWERS, That voice was called 'Shofar,' as in the verse, "Then shall you cause the Shofar to sound on the tenth day of the seventh month, on the Day of Atonement" (Vayikra 25:9). On that YOM KIPPUR (DAY OF ATONEMENT) it is called 'Shofar,' MEANING THAT WHEN THE SOUND ISSUES FROM BINAH, THE SOUND IS CALLED 'SHOFAR.'
302. Rabbi Yosi said, As the PHYSICAL Shofar makes a sound WHICH INCLUDES fire, air and water, here too everything is included in it, FOR HERE IN THE SOUND THAT COMES OUT FROM THE SHOFAR, FIRE, WIND AND WATER ARE INCLUDED - WHICH ARE CHESED, GVURAH AND TIFERET, THE SECRET OF THE THREE COLUMNS. And from this sound other sounds emerge.
303. Rabbi Elazar said that "THE SOUND OF THE SHOFAR" MEANS the sound which comes out from a Shofar, which means that there is one Shofar and a solitary sound comes out from it, FOR THE SOUND IS THE SECRET OF ZEIR ANPIN AND THE SHOFAR IS THE SECRET OF BINAH. The Shofar stands by itself SEPARATE FROM THE SOUND WHICH COMES OUT OF IT, therefore it is written, "the sound of the Shofar," AND NOT, 'THE SOUND IN THE SHOFAR.'
304. Rabbi Yehuda said, In "the sound of the Shofar," the word "Shofar" is spelled without THE LETTER VAV, FOR IT HAS THE SAME MEANING AS IN THE VERSE, "It pleased (Heb. shafar) Daryavesh" (Daniel 6:1) and in the verse, "O king, let my counsel be acceptable (Heb. yishpar) to you" (Daniel 4:24) and the verse, "I thought it good (Heb. shefar) to report the signs and wonders" (Daniel 3:32) - MEANING THAT THESE ARE EXPRESSIONS WHICH SPEAK OF GLORY AND BEAUTY, WHICH ALLUDES TO ZEIR ANPIN, THE SECRET OF TIFERET.
305. Rabbi Shimon said that "the sound of the Shofar" MEANS THAT the place from which the sound comes out is called 'Shofar,' FOR THE SOUND IS ZEIR ANPIN AND THE SHOFAR IS BINAH, AND ZEIR ANPIN ISSUES FROM BINAH, AS IS KNOWN. Rabbi Shimon continued and said, Come and behold, "the sound of the Shofar" refers to where the voice is, for it is written, "By every word that proceeds out of the mouth of Hashem does man live" (Devarim 7:3). What comes "out of the mouth of Hashem?" "...The sound of the Shofar..." which is greater than any other lower voices, and stronger than them all, as it is written, "the sound of a Shofar exceedingly loud" (Shemot 19:16). Of other voices it is not said "exceedingly loud (lit. 'very strong')." Everything depends on this sound of the Shofar, and it is called 'a great voice,' as written, "a great voice which was not heard again" (Devarim 5:19), and it called "a still small voice" (I Melachim 19:12), which is the light of the luminaries, which is pure and subtle, and purifies and illuminates all things.