At the giving of the Torah at mount Sinai. The verse says that the Israelites saw the voice of God. What did this voice look like?

Edit: I see that I'm getting answers which veer from the literal reading of the verse — וכל העם ראים את הקולת. There must be someone who describes the shape or color of the voice once it's written as such.

  • According to Chizkuni it’s not mashma that they actually saw anything, it’s just a term of speech…ראים את הקולת לפי פשוטו אפילו בדבר שאינו נראה אבל ידוע שכן הוא נופל לומר בו לשון ראיה, כמו ראה זה מצאתי אמרה קהלת, וירא העם כי בשש משה. Commented Jul 7 at 5:20
  • Can you please explain exactly what you are looking for? I have quoted HaEmek Davar who explains precisely that the “kolot” (voices) that they “saw” was actually the letters of the words being spoken in fire. That describes both the shape and color of what they saw Commented Jul 8 at 3:14

2 Answers 2


See HaEmek Davar who gives some insight as to what they saw - seems to be that they saw a visual representation in the form of sparks and fires of each letter that was being spoken. The most similar way I think we can visualize this nowadays is “Oscilloscope Music” - it’s basically seeing sound visually (very cool to see and they are many videos where people actually make full songs and videos showing what waveform the music you listen to looks like). Seeing it this way makes it a little easier to understand, at least to me, what they “actually saw” as it’s a concept we can view ourselves and understand, whereas many generations ago it wasn’t possible and probably more difficult to comprehend how you can see sound

ראים את הקולת ואת הלפידם. כפרש״י היוצאין מפי הגבורה. ר״ל לא בקולות של רעמים שבא עם הברקים מיירי. אלא בקול של עשרת הדברות שהיה קול ה׳ בכח ובהדר. ובקול יצאו ניצוצות אש ולפידים כמו אותיות הדבור. והעם ראו את האותיות וכמש״כ בס׳ דברים ד׳ ט׳ ורעמים וברקים לא היו.

We saw the voices and the torches, as Rashi interprets, emanating from the mouth of the Almighty. Meaning, not the voices of thunder that come with the lightning, but the voice of the Ten Commandments, which was the voice of God with strength and splendor. And with the voice, sparks of fire and torches emerged like the letters of speech. And the people saw the letters, as mentioned in Deuteronomy 4:9, and there were no thunder and lightning.


According to the Alshich Hakodesh on Shir Hashirim 1:2, Hashem's breath, as it were, is unlike mortal breath, that is of no substance and quickly dissipates. The breath of Hashem is eternal and the words spoken are real entities, higher than angels, because they are intrinsically part of Hashem, so to speak. Angels, are created from His words.

He quotes the Midrash Rabba 1:13 which brings a discussion about what happened, and basically the conclusion is that Hashem spoke the words, and angels brought them to each individual Jew. The words were not visible, but the angels were, and the Jews could see how the words spoke. The words Hashem spoke here are the mitzvot and all their details, and the angel asked the Jew if they accept them and Hashem's Oneness. Then when the Jew did, the Jew was elevated to a higher level, where the word itself would kiss the Jew.

So, according to this opinion, the Jews saw the angels who brought the words of Hashem to them. The words are higher entities than angels, although they themselves were not visible, they could be seen as they were spoken by the angel, and it is clear that this experience was above nature so it wouldn't really be possible to picture it or give it any more of a description than we have above.

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