I understand that Moshe ascended Har Sinai 3 times.

The 1st time was on 6th of Sivan

The 2nd time seems to have occurred after the sin of the Golden Calf, starting on 18 Tamuz and he spent 40 days praying to God for forgiveness.

The 3rd time began on Rosh Hodesh Elul and ended on Yom Kipur. This is when Moshe brought to God his own fashioned set of tablets, and God wrote the Ten Commandments on it. ( I will b"n followup with a separate question regarding what "version" was written on it.)

In asking my rabbi this question, he explained that Midrashim discuss a controversy as to what happened the 1st time and the 3rd time. One Midrash explains that only the 10 Commandments were received the 1st time, and the 3rd time he was taught Torah, Mishnah, Talmud, halacha and Midrash. Another opinion says that he was taught everything the first time.

My question - if on the 1st time, he was given only the 10 Commandments, why the 40 days to explain just that? It seems like a long time for that. If, he was taught everything the first time, then what was happening the 3rd time?

  • Cant all mitzvos be learnt from the aseres hadibros
    – sam
    Commented Oct 23, 2019 at 15:27
  • 1
    Could you (ask your rabbi to) provide a source for such an interpretation? I've never heard of or seen any commentator who says that Moshe needed 40 days to learn the עשרת הדברות alone Commented Oct 24, 2019 at 1:44
  • Maybe as a start: Pirkei d'Rebbi Eliezer 46 says on the first forty days קורא במקרא ביום ושונה במשנה בלילה while on the second forty days קורא בדת מקרא ביום ושונה בדת משנה בלילה.
    – DonielF
    Commented Dec 8, 2019 at 1:30
  • Even if it was "just" the aseres hadibros, so Moshe was possibly seeing and learning things that we cannot comprehend. Souls are in heaven radiating in the Ziv Hashchinah for thousands of years, and here Moshe was face to face with God! Chagigah 9b says that to be called 'he who serves him [God]', you must study the Torah at least 101 times. So if Moshe ascended the mountain more than one time to study the Torah, perhaps he was relearning the Torah with God?
    – larry909
    Commented Mar 5 at 4:20
  • @Chatzkel if you'd like to post your comment as an answer , I'll accept it
    – larry909
    Commented Mar 12 at 0:36

1 Answer 1


The Ramban says he learned the exact same thing as the first time, again. אבל סיפר כי היה ענין הלוחות השניות ככל ענין הראשונות במכתב אלהים ובימים שעמד שם לפני השם, שלא יחשוב שכבר למד התורה בפעם הראשון, ולא יצטרך עתה לעמוד שם הרבה

  • @larry909 not sure what you mean. I read the ramban inside and then found it online. The link you refer to speaks about the Rambam not the Ramban
    – Chatzkel
    Commented Mar 12 at 22:41
  • sorry, my bad, i mixed up the Rambam with the Ramban
    – larry909
    Commented Mar 13 at 23:11

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