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When we think about the desert of Sinai our mind thinks straight away to "Kabalat Torah". This looks like the biggest thing that our people had when they left Egypt. It is almost as if the people of Israel left Egypt to get the Torah.

On the other hand when reading the Bible there is no acknowledgement prior to the occasion of "Kabalat Ha-Torah" that our people knew that we were going to get the Torah. It looks like the only reason that they left is because they were tired of slavery and G-d promised us a land to build our nation on.

So was the exodus only on a national basis (on G-d will)? Or is there any evidence that the people of Israel knew they were going to get the Torah prior to Kabalat HaTorah?

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Yes there is evidence that the people of Israel knew they were going to get the Torah prior to Kabalat HaTorah.

Ray's answer cites Shemot 6:7. Even before that, in Shemot 3:12, God says to Moshe

וַיֹּ֙אמֶר֙ כִּֽי־אֶֽהְיֶ֣ה עִמָּ֔ךְ וְזֶה־לְּךָ֣ הָא֔וֹת כִּ֥י אָנֹכִ֖י שְׁלַחְתִּ֑יךָ בְּהוֹצִֽיאֲךָ֤ אֶת־הָעָם֙ מִמִּצְרַ֔יִם תַּֽעַבְדוּן֙ אֶת־הָ֣אֱלֹהִ֔ים עַ֖ל הָהָ֥ר הַזֶּֽה׃

And He said: ‘For I shall be with you; and this is the sign for you that I have sent you: when you take the people out of Egypt, you will serve God on this mountain.’

Rashi comments on what God told Moshe

דָּבָר גָּדוֹל יֵשׁ לִי עַל הוֹצָאָה זוּ, שֶׁהֲרֵי עֲתִידִים לְקַבֵּל הַתּוֹרָה עַל הָהָר הַזֶּה לְסוֹף ג' חֳדָשִׁים שֶׁיֵּצְאוּ מִמִּצְרָיִם.

"I have a matter of great consequence dependent on this departure (of the Israelites from Egypt). For they are destined to receive the Torah upon this mountain three months after they leave Egypt."

(based on Midrash Shemot Rabba 3:4)

So at least Moshe Rabbenu knew from the beginning that they would receive the Torah. Did he tell this to the people? see Shemot 4:28

וַיַּגֵּ֤ד מֹשֶׁה֙ לְאַֽהֲרֹ֔ן אֵ֛ת כָּל־דִּבְרֵ֥י יְהוָ֖ה אֲשֶׁ֣ר שְׁלָח֑וֹ וְאֵ֥ת כָּל־הָאֹתֹ֖ת אֲשֶׁ֥ר צִוָּֽהוּ׃

And Moshe told Aaron all the words that God had sent him, and all the signs that He had commanded him.

and Shemot 4:30

וַיְדַבֵּ֣ר אַהֲרֹ֔ן אֵ֚ת כָּל־הַדְּבָרִ֔ים אֲשֶׁר־דִּבֶּ֥ר יְהוָ֖ה אֶל־מֹשֶׁ֑ה וַיַּ֥עַשׂ הָאֹתֹ֖ת לְעֵינֵ֥י הָעָֽם׃ וַֽיַּאֲמֵ֖ן הָעָ֑ם וַֽיִּשְׁמְע֡וּ כִּֽי־פָקַ֨ד יְהוָ֜ה אֶת־בְּנֵ֣י יִשְׂרָאֵ֗ל וְכִ֤י רָאָה֙ אֶת־עָנְיָ֔ם וַֽיִּקְּד֖וּ וַיִּֽשְׁתַּחֲוּֽוּ׃

And Aaron spoke all the words that God had spoken to Moshe, and he performed the signs in front of the people. And the people believed and they heard that God had remembered the children of Israel and that He saw their affliction, and they bowed their heads and prostrated themselves.

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Exodus 6:7 "And I will take you to Me as a people, and I will be a God to you, and you will know that I am the Lord your God, Who has brought you out from under the burdens of the Egyptians." (Sforno - Har Sinai)

See also Drashas haran which says the ten plagues were a prelude to sinai so there would be no doubt that the giver of the torah was God almighty

  • Thanks Ray, - You have answered my question that the exodus was not merely national. - Do you might have a source that the people of Israel knew that there will be "kabalat torah"? - Where is this in the Drashot Haran? – Tomer Mar 6 '16 at 6:38

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