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"וַיִּתֵּן אֶל־מֹשֶׁה כְּכַלֹּתוֹ לְדַבֵּר אִתּוֹ בְּהַר סִינַי
שְׁנֵי לֻחֹת הָעֵדֻת לֻחֹת אֶבֶן כְּתֻבִים בְּאֶצְבַּע אֱלֹהִים׃" (Ex 31:18)

He gave Moses the two tablets of the Pact, stone tablets inscribed with the finger of God.

What's the importance of "G-d's finger", why it wasn't enough writing "tablets inscribed by God"? Was there anything special about the inscription it had to be made with a finger?

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    It's a very strong anthropomorphism, emphasizing the importance of the inscription, IMHO. He of course doesn't have a finger, but what else would He write with, a pen/stylus/burning almond branch/etc? His "breath", which he caused Man to live with? A "toe"? Finger seems proper to me, again, IMHO. – Gary Feb 16 at 19:47
  • @Gary I didn't want to take this path, only why "G-d's finger" is better than "by G-d", or "G-d's hand" or arm which we already met in Egypt? – Al Berko Feb 16 at 20:51
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Rav Hirsch ends his comment on Ki Sisa 31:18

The given Law is unchangeable, we its receivers and observers, are to develop ourselves on it, and about it and through it in constant progress. כתובים באצבע אלוהים: directly as the work of Hashem Himself as the heavens the work of His Fingers, Tehillim 8:4, as clearly bearing witness to Hashem, as the miracles in Egypt pointed to the Finger of Hashem Vaera 8:15

Thus, this is the anthopomorphism that is most correct showing the writing as the direct action of Hashem. It creates the image of Hashem causing the action being described.

  • Nothing in a "finger" shows more involvement than a "hand". I personally can't connect with R' Hirsch's ideas as they only target a certain (probably very illiterate and ignorant) audience. His claims are indecipherable to me, such as "The given Law is unchangeable". 2. Only one miracle was compared to G-d's finger - the lice AFAIK. 3 The last sentence does not make sense - what creates the image of G-d? – Al Berko Feb 17 at 14:42
  • @AlBerko When speaking of writing one envisages the finger doing the work of creating the letters on the luchos. The miracle of the lice is what caused the magicians to see the Finger of Hashem. Once that was acknowledged, all the miracles were already seen in that way. The quote from Rav Hirsch was the end of a very long commentary explaining the usage of the Finger as the appropriate metaphor. The metaphor is the technical use of fine motor skills to accomplish an action. Hand is a larger broader action. As a result, Finger is more appropriate for writing. – sabbahillel Feb 17 at 15:32
  • But what does it add to the understanding? What was lacking if it said: "the Tablet inscribed by G-d". Would you wonder - G-d's finger or G-d's toe? – Al Berko Feb 17 at 19:11

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