The Sixties Radical-Azriel

G-d gave us specific instructions  on how to build the temple and the ramp that ascends to the Temple. “The priests wore trousers under their tunics, so their bodies would not have been exposed to the altar even on a staircase. Nonetheless, since walking up a staircase gives the impression of exposing one’s uncovered body, it is more modest to use a ramp. If G‑d requires us to respect the “feelings” of unfeeling stones, all the more so does He require us to respect the feelings of our fellow human beings.

The requirement to show respect to the stones of the altar teaches us to safeguard the honor of other people even when they are not aware that they are being disrespected, even when we do not mean to offend them.

Thus, this last verse of this section of the Torah sums up the message of G‑d’s revelation at Mount Sinai: G‑d is found in even the most mundane things. Our relationships with other people are part and parcel of our relationship with G‑d. And in a positive sense, loving other people is in truth loving our Creator.1Likutei Sichot, vol. 21, pp. 124

After the Giving of the Ten Commandments, G‑d told Moses to ascend Mount Sinai and remain there for 40 days in order to learn the rest of the Torah. Some of the laws that G‑d taught Moses concerned how to build an altar for sacrifices. One of these laws was that the altar must be ascended by means of a ramp, rather than by stairs.

You must not ascend My altar on steps, so that your nakedness not be exposed over it. Exodus 20:23

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