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Shemot 15:17 & 17:25

Rabbi Elchanan Lewis14 Adar I 5765
263
Question
In the first scripture, Moshe speaks of the mountain of G-d and His sanctuary in the past tense. Is this considered a prophetic utterance or was he looking back on Avraham’s willingness to sacrifice Yitzchak? In the second verse, it says "There Hashem made laws and rules of life for them, and there he tested them." (Complete Jewish Bible, translation by David H. Stern.) The New JPS translation (which I don’t care for by the way), states "There He made for them a fixed rule..." I am curious Rabbi, as to what laws and rules G-d gave to the Israelites prior to Mount Sinai?
Answer
1. Prophetic. 2. Our rabbis in Talmud tractate Sanhedrin 56b and other places teach us that in Marah Moshe taught the children of Israel several laws; Shabbat, some civil laws, honoring ones parents, the laws of the red heifer, similarly they were officially introduced to the seven Noahide commandments. To what extent were they commanded and how comprehensive, is subject to rabbinic dispute, yet according to tradition these are the laws.
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