In Devarim 5:5 Moshe says:

"Because you were afraid of the fire and you didn't go up the mountain..."

It seems that Moshe is saying that the fear of the fire coming from the mountain was why B'nai Yisra'el didn't go up the mountain. But, actually, that is not the reason. They didn't go up the mountain because, G-d told the Moshe to set a border so that the people and animals can't even touch the mountain.

I saw Ramba"n on this verse (View the next page of the link, above to see it.) He seems to imply that there was a time when they had permission to do so. Perhaps, I'm misunderstanding what he's saying. I thought that that there was never permission to approach the mountain.

What is Moshe implying when he connects the fear of the fire with not going up the mountain?

  • If you can get hold of Mayan Bais Hashoeva by R' Shimon Schwab z"l, he addresses this question, as well as the apparent contradiction between 5:4 & 5:5 in his own unique way. Time prohibits elaboration at this point.... YS
    – user6870
    Aug 13, 2014 at 21:43

1 Answer 1


Correct. The fear and the not going up the mountain are not connected.

The Meforshim seem to explain something along these lines:

אָנֹכִי עֹמֵד בֵּין יְהוָה וּבֵינֵיכֶם בָּעֵת הַהִוא לְהַגִּיד לָכֶם אֶת דְּבַר ה' כִּי יְרֵאתֶם מִפְּנֵי הָאֵשׁ

I had to be an intermediary between you and Hashem, as you were afraid of [even] the [(heavenly voices coming out of the)] fire [how much more so of actually hearing Hashem speak] -

וְלֹא עֲלִיתֶם בָּהָר

and [of course] you couldn't go up the mountain, [as it was forbidden previously] -


and I said [over Hashem's words that you wear too afraid to hear directly]:

Or: As the Or haChaim says: "and you were fobidden from going up the mountain, in order for Hashem to say [the 10 commandements].

אור החיים: ולא עליתם בהר לאמר. פירוש ואסר לכם ה' עלות בהר בשביל לאמר


תרגום יונתן: אֲנָא הֲוֵית קָאֵים בֵּין מֵימְרָא דַיְיָ וּבֵינֵיכוֹן בְּעִידָנָא הַהוּא לְמִתְנַיָא לְכוֹן יַת פִּתְגָמַיָא דַיְיָ, אֲרוּם דְּחֵלְתּוּן מִן קֳדָם קַל מֵימְרָא דַיְיָ דְּמִשְׁתַּמַע מִגוֹ אֵישָׁתָא, וְלָא סְלֵיקְתּוּן בְּטוּרָא, כַּד אָמַר: ‏

שפתי חכמים: (ב) דאין יתכן לומר דקאי לאמר אדלפניו ולא עליתם בהר לאמר, דמה היה להם לומר בהר? אלא שהפסיק הכתוב בין מתוך האש למלת לאמר כדי שיודיע שאני הסרסור בין ה' וביניכם, מפני שיראתם מפני האש, ולא יכולתם לעלות בהר: ‏

  • Danny, i just wanted to let you know in case you forgot: I just discovered an unregistered account that looks like it's probably yours. You can ask a mod to merge them and get an extra ~600 rep. ;)
    – Scimonster
    Nov 12, 2014 at 15:33
  • @Danny Re Merging: see the help center
    – Double AA
    Nov 13, 2014 at 18:33

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