For the first twenty-five centuries of history, there existed a gezerah—a “decree” and “schism”—which split reality into two self-contained realms: the spiritual and the material. Torah, the divine wisdom and will, could have no real effect upon the physical world. It was a wholly spiritual manifesto, pertaining to the soul of man and to the spiritual reality of the “heavens.” While its concepts could, and were, applied to physical life, physical life could not be elevated—it could be improved and perfected to the limits of its potential, but it could not transcend its inherent coarseness and subjectivity. Nor could the spiritual be truly brought down to earth—its very nature defied actualization.
At Sinai, G-d revoked the decree which had confined matter and spirit to two distinct “realms.” G-d came down on Mount Sinai, bringing the spirituality of the heavens down to earth. He summoned Moses to the top of the mountain, empowering physical man to raise his physical self and world to a higher state of existence. The Torah could now sanctify physical life.