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While the nations and peoples were refusing to accept the Torah, the mountains among themselves were fighting for the honor of being chosen as the spot for the revelation. One said: "Upon me shall the Shekinah of God rest, and mine shall be this glory," whereupon the other mountain replied: "Upon me shall the Shekinah rest, and mine shall be this glory." The mountain of Tabor said to the mountain of Hermon: "Upon me shall the Shekinah rest, mine shall be this glory, for in times of old, when in the days of Noah the flood came over the earth, all the mountains that are under the heavens were covered with water, whereas it did not reach my head, nay, not even my shoulder. All the earth was sunk under water, but I, the highest of the mountains, towered high above the waters, hence I am called upon to bear the Shekinah." Mount Hermon replied to Mount Tabor: "Upon me shall the Shekinah rest, I am the destined one, for when Israel wished to pass through the Red Sea, it was I who enabled them to do so, for I settled down between the two shores of the sea, and they moved from one side to the other, through my aid, so that not even their clothes became wet." Mount Carmel was quite silent, but settled down on the shore of the sea, thinking: "If the Shekinah is to repose on the sea, it will rest upon me, and if it is to repose on the mainland, it will rest upon me." Then a voice out of the high heavens rang out and said: "The Shekinah shall not rest upon these high mountains that are so proud, for it is not God's will that the Shekinah should rest upon high mountains that quarrel among themselves and look upon one another with disdain. He prefers the low mountains, and Sinai among these, because it is the smallest and most insignificant of all. Upon it will He let the Shekinah rest." [183] The other mountains hereupon said to God, "Is it possible that Thou are partial, and wilt give us no reward for our good intention?" God replied: "Because ye have striven in My honor will I reward ye. Upon Tabor will I grant aid to Israel at the time of Deborah, and upon Carmel will I give aid to Elijah." [184]

Mount Sinai was given the preference not for its humility alone, but also because upon it there had been no worshipping of idols; whereas the other mountains, owing to their height, had been employed as sanctuaries by the idolaters. [185] Mount Sinai has a further significance, too, for it had been originally a part of Mount Moriah, on which Isaac was to have been sacrificed; but Sinai separated itself from it, and came to the desert. Then God said: "Because their father Isaac lay upon this mountain, bound as a sacrifice, it is fitting that upon it his children receive the Torah." Hence God now chose this mountain for a brief stay during the revelation, for after the Torah had been bestowed, He withdrew again to heaven. In the future world, Sinai will return to its original place, Mount Moriah, when "the mountain of the Lord's house shall be established in the top of the mountains, and shall be exalted above the hills." [186]

Just as Sinai was chosen as the spot for the revelation owing to its humility, so likewise was Moses. When God said to Moses, "Go, deliver Israel," he in his great humility, said: "Who am I that I should go to Pharaoh and lead the children of Israel out of Egypt? There are nobler and wealthier than I." But God replied: "Thou are a great man, thee have I chosen out of all Israel. Of thee shall the prophet of the future say, 'I have laid help upon one that is mighty; I have exalted on chosen out of the people.'" Moses in his humility, however, still stood apart and would not accept the office offered him, until God said to him "Why dost thou stand apart? If they are not to be delivered by thee, by none other will they be delivered." When, likewise, at God's command Moses had erected the Tabernacle, he did not enter it, out of great humility, until God said to him, "Why dost thou stand outside? Thou are worthy to serve Me." [187]

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