b'JEWISH CALENDAR COMPANIONSIMCHAT TORAH ELLIOT SAFRAT heres an old joke that recounts how the Jewish people received the Torah from God: God,beinginpossessionoftheGreatand Powerful Torah offered it to different nations across the world hoping to find one who would accept it. When presented with the offer, each nation replied asking God what exactly the Torah contained. Thou shall not kill answered God to one nation.That seems difficult! I dont think its for us, sorry the nation replied. Another nation that was offered the Torah, again, turned to God to ask what it contained. Thou shall not steal answered God.That seems like a poor business decision, I dont think we want it they replied. Finally, God approached the Jewish people with his offer. The Jewish people paused for a minute, turned to God, and asked: How much does it cost?Its free replied God.Great, well take two! And thus the two tablets containing the Ten Commandments were given to the Jewish people. The joke actually isnt so far removed from the truth. ThereisaconceptinJudaismcallednaasehvnishma.The approximate translation is act [first], and understand [later]. We first find the phrase in Exodus, after Moshe begins to recount the words of the Torah to the Jewish people. The classical interpretation of this phrase expounds that the moment the nation uttered these words was the moment they had proven their worth as a nation to God. In essence, the Jewish people took a leap of faith and trusted God in accepting the Torah even though they may not have understood its entirety and depth at the time of receiving it. [It is also interesting to note that this concept is later discussed in various 27'