The Sinai Files
After 3332 Years The Truth Leaks Out
The classic case of Ministering Angels versus Moses has been public
knowledge for millennium. Only recently, however, due to shifts of
power and upheaval in the angelic realms, has the complete story been
Experts were shocked at the revelations of newly discovered
files and scrambled to write a comprehensive analysis from
Based on several cartons of recently-revealed confidential transcripts,
here is the entire story as reconstructed by our reporters:
MORNING OF PANIC
For Joe Angel, it had been a typical night of high energy
songs of praise up in heaven. Things had gone slightly better
than last week--just as things had been steadily improving
every week for the last 2,448 years since the Creation.
Little did he realize that this morning would be the one to
permanently upset the status quo he and his colleagues had
found so comfortable all these ages.
It was as the morning shift was just taking over, fully
prepared with a great set of wild new hits, when someone
"It's coming from there!" they hollered, frantically,
"Loooook!! It's a...a...EARTHLY BEING!!! EEEEEEE!!!! Get him
out of here, FAST!"
In a flash, the senior choirmaster had Supreme Angel
Michael on the wire. Waving his metaphysical wings
frantically in the ether, he almost screamed into the
receiver. This was an emergency, he argued. Michael had to go
before The Boss immediately for a disclosure agreement.
Within minutes, the phone rang back again, a heated, but
brief exchange ensued, and the choirmaster was demanding
silence to make an announcement.
"OK, everyone, we've got rights to make this public
knowledge now. That human being over there is none other than
Moses. He's here because The Boss, blessed be His Name, in
His infinite wisdom...
In a bid to regain their attention, the choirmaster pulled Moses
in front of their faces. The shock of seeing an earthly being
in their immaculate world chilled their song like a mountain
of ice on a barbecue pit.
"Holy, holy, holy..." the angels, at hearing mention of the
Boss, began crying out in heavenly harmony, "...the Infinite
L-rd of Hosts...blessed be the Name of His glory...".
"Like I was saying," continued the choirmaster, "this is
Moses. He's a person, and he's here because, well, he's going
to receive the Torah in proxy for the Children of Israel."
At first, there was such silence, it seemed as though all
the sounds of a millennium had been sucked in to the void.
Then a popping sound here and there as the more ethereal
beings, unable to contain the revelation, dissolved into
flashes of cosmic dust. Then, the more robust, those who
survived, began to murmur in protest and argue one with the
other, louder and louder, and then furiously in the most
ultimate of all crescendos, like the roar of a tsunami
approaching the coast, the howl of a galactic hurricane being
whipped up in the Milky Way...
"Your precious, most hidden of all treasures!" they wailed.
"A treasure you have hidden for 974 generations before the
world was ever created, and 26 since then --and now You plan
to fork it over to EARTHLY BEINGS!!! CAST YOUR GLORY UPON THE
HEAVENS (Psalms ,8)! Let us--Your immaculate servants who
have sung Your praises all these ages, us who truly
understand the Depth of Your Wisdom and Holiness--let us have
Your Holy Torah! WHAT IS MAN THAT YOU SHOULD EVEN CONSIDER
As they wailed and howled at an ever rising volume, the
entire order of Creation resonated at super-sonic
frequencies. The energy level of the cosmos was treacherously
approaching the point of auto-destruction when The Boss,
blessed be His Name and Glory ad infinitum, He Himself mixed
in to stop the chaos.
And so there was silence--sharp and sudden like the edge of
a mighty cliff cutting off into the abyss.
The choirmaster, himself freshly re-incorporated into a
more resilient spiritual form, wiped sweat from his brow and
struggled to articulate the announcement he had just been
instructed to make, "OK, everybody get to the benches. The
concert is cancelled. We're going to have a legal debate."
Scene changes are instant up there. It was not even a
moment and the heavenly concert hall had become the heavenly
court. Defending angels to one side, opposition to the other.
The defense began:
"It's not good enough to make all these claims of being
better, demanding favoritism. If you wish that we angels
should have the Torah for ourselves, you're going to have to
play by the ground rules of Torah itself!"
"And we shall: Baba Metzia, folio 108, second side. Cited
by Maimonides, Laws of Neighbors, chapter 12..."
The heavenly spectators couldn't help but let out a cheer
of gladness. Their case seemed airtight...who could argue
with such brilliance?
"Please get to the citation..."
"Very well: A landowner has a portion of real estate for
sale that borders on his neighbor's property. But rather than
deal with his neighbor, he sells it to some Joe off the
street. The neighbor is empowered by Torah law to go to Joe,
pay him his money, and nab the property for himself. Why?
Because the Torah says, "You shall do that which is upright
and decent" (Deut. 6:18). Upright and decent is to sell the
property to your neighbor--because he's the one who can make
the best use of it."
"And just what," demanded the defense, "has that got to do
with our case?"
"Quite simple: The Torah is something heavenly and divine.
We are too--so we are its neighbors. Earthly beings, aside
from their many other serious defects, are very distant from
spiritual matters. They have to struggle to grasp that which
comes naturally to us. So we are neighbors and they are the
distant Joe-off-the-street. Which gives us first rights."
But then the defence retorted:
"You may consider yourselves erudite in the paths of Torah,
dear opposition. But in this case you have failed to note the
gloss of the Maggid Mishna on that chapter in Maimonides.
There, he cites the opinion of the "Itur" that these "rights
of the neighbor" only apply to real estate. Torah, on the
other hand, is not real estate, but movable property."
"And what, pray tell, is your evidence that
Torah is moveable property?"
The defending angel rose to his full stature, as if
"Of course it's moveable property! If it
weren't, you wouldn't have any complaint! It's being taken
from up here in heaven and being given down on earth!!"
Those words drove the message home--hard. One youthful
angel, unable to contain himself any longer, vaulted the
bench and, in flames of ionic crimson, stormed above the
"Yes! They'll have the Torah down there! Every time we want
to pray, we'll have to wait for them to get out of their
beds! When we want to sanctify the new moon, we'll have to go
to their earthly courts to find out what they have
established with their puny brains! We will be reduced to no
more than gagged back seat drivers, shlepped around by the
whim of their fallible human logic, completely dependent for
our very life force upon their clumsy, lackadaisical
fulfillment of material mitzvahs!"
Before the court clerks were able to haul the protestor
away, he had already dissolved into the ether, returning to
his source in the supernal void, another victim of cerebral
overload for that day.
"We, who stand here every day and commune with the Divine,
to whom light and revelation is our very being, we shall become no more than
accessories to those egomaniacal, vulgar,
*physical* beings who walk in thick darkness, ready to deny
the very existence of their own souls! NO! WE CANNOT LET
When things had calmed down sufficiently, the opposition
"We've had a chance to look over your sources, and,
frankly, we're not convinced."
A sigh of relief rose from the crowd.
"Certainly, the argument of the Itur would hold true in
most cases, since the neighbor can always find similar goods
elsewhere and bring them to his property. But in the case of
the Torah, there simply *is* no replacement. Once it's gone,
it's gone. They will have it, and we shall be forced to
descend to their realm to learn it from them . The entire
flow of cosmic energy shall be in the hands of their good
deeds and mitzvahs--and we shall only hope to assist them
along. This, we assert, is unethical and contrary to Torah
itself. The Law of the Neighbor's Rights still applies."
All heads nodded enthusiastically. But the defense
"Our next argument is that these laws
only apply to sales, whether barter or monetary. The Torah is
not being sold, but outrightly given as a gift to the earthly
beings. Look on the next side of the page there in Baba
Metzia and you'll realize that none of these neighbor's
rights apply to gifts!"
In the crowded aisles of the court, one angel whispered to
another, "I told you we could never, never truly understand
Him. Torah? An outright gift?!"
The opposition rebutted, indignantly:
"This is a clear misrepresentation of the facts! The Torah
is being sold, not donated!"
The debate shot back and forth at high intensity. Finally,
it was conceded that some aspects of Torah were being given
as a gift and others as a sale (and still other features as
an inheritance). At any rate, the Law of the Neighbor still
"Its being given away! Gratis! In a nice box with ribbons
and a birthday card!"
"Its being sold! For barter!"
The defense: "I cite Brachot 5a, "Three good *gifts* did
the Holy One Blessed Be He give Israel...Torah..."
The opposition: "And I cite the same page in the same
Gemora: The Holy One Blessed Be He says to Israel, "I have
sold you my Torah..."!"
The defence was not yet stumped. Now Moses was being
brought to the stand, not as the defendant, but as "Exhibit
"Behold the subject in question. Your first
reaction was that this is an earthly being who has no
business up here in our realm. But look again! You call this
a man, I say he is truly an angel--and perhaps even greater!"
The defense was dangerously bordering on treachery, and
knew it well. But that was a risk that had to be taken.
"This is the man who defied Pharaoh, who brought ten
plagues upon the Egyptians, who spoke with G-d even while
within the chambers of Pharaoh's palace! He split the Red
Sea, he made manna fall from heaven..."
Now the angels were impressed. But the opposition pressed
"Big deal!" cackled the opposition, "Angels do similar
"...He led the Jews out of Egypt and through the wilderness
for 50 days and put up with their kvetching!"
"So what does this have to do with our case?"
The opposition was forced to yell over the ensuing
commotion: "Deceit! Deflective tactics! You can't pull the
wool over our eyes! He's not coming here to get the Torah for
himself! He's planning to give it out freely to every Berel
and Shmerel down there who wants to learn! And they are
most certainly NOT OUR NEIGHBORS!"
"Moses is no Joe off the street! Just as we are neighbors
to the Torah, so is Moses! "
"YES THEY ARE OUR NEIGHBORS!" The defense retorted. "They
all--every one of them--have a spark of Moses within them!
And furthermore, they are better than neighbors--they are
RELATED to The Boss Himself!"
"This Law of Neighbors applies to relatives as well."
"Not according to the reading of the Baal Hilchot Gedolot,
as brought by the Bet Yosef."
"That's not the final ruling!"
"But did He not call them "my child, my first born" when He
demanded that Pharaoh let them go? Rabbi Yitzchaak Alfasi
claims that these laws certainly do not apply to children,
and the Siftei Cohen contends that this is the halacha. They
are all holy, divine beings themselves, their souls carved
out from under the Throne of Glory. They are capable of the
most wondrous things! They deserve the Torah as much as we
THE LAST RESORT
The galleries were in shock. There was only so much they
could take. Somebody in the opposition had to come up with
something quick, or a riot could ensue.
And so it was that an ancient being, one of those who had
come into existence alongside time itself, rose to speak. All
were hushed. His words, as follows, were perhaps the most
revealing of the entire proceedings:
"If they are so holy, then I say, let them come up here and
share the Torah with us. After all, that is all we are
asking: That the Torah should remain in the heavenly realms,
a G-dly wisdom, a teaching of mystical abstractions that
reveals the inner workings of the cosmos and allows us to
connect with the essential force that creates it. They, too,
may be permitted to transcend their corporeal bounds through
the efforts of meditation, fasting and prayer, to rise to our
spiritual plane and partake of this wonderful Torah with us."
The sagacious being stopped to ponder for a moment, as it
beheld all that would happen over the next millennia in a
flash, then looked up and began to glow with passion.
"But to allow this greatest of all treasures to descend to
the material realm...to become manifest in the form of deeds
bound by physical objects...performed by crude semi-animals
formed from the earth who are filled with deceit and
avarice...in a place where the Holy Torah could be mistaken
for just another set of ethno-rituals or--yet worse--an
exercise of cyber-acrobatics to feed the arrogance of silly
men??!! For this the cosmos came into being? This should be
the destiny of the Wisdom of the Most High??!!"
"Holy, Holy...Blessed be...ad infinitum..."--the choir took
off in inspiration. The defense called for order, asserting
it had one last argument.
"Maimonides, ibid, chapter 12, halacha 5. Rosh on Baba
Metzia 31. Brought as the final ruling in the Code of Jewish
Law: The Right of the Neighbor does not apply to partners."
The speaker for the opposition did not continue. In the
excitement, he had already diffused his form and become
absorbed into the Infinite Light. He wasn't the only one. The
dream of such communion had struck hard the hearts of many
such beings who could not contain the excitement and
dissolved into the Nothingness. Other beings were formed from
the ambient energy and took their place.
"Now they are *partners*?"
"They've already kept one Shabbat, and (Shabbat 109b):
Anyone who recites the verses, "And the heavens and the earth
and all their host were completed..." as the Shabbat enters one
becomes a partner with the Holy One Blessed Be He in the act
The opposition snapped back with a fury: "Now, I ask you:
Is that fair? Of course they are partners! They have been
given some preview mitzvahs already! Every mitzvah they do
binds them in wonderful union with the Source of All Life--
except that they remain _coarse_physical_beings_. But could
you imagine--imagine it right now--if we, with our ethereal
forms of light and divine energy, if *we* would be commanded
to fulfill those same mitzvahs in our spiritual realm, as
mystical meditations, as songs and holy communions? What
greater unity could possibly exist? The Most Ultimate
Under these conditions, the debate could no longer
continue, and so a vote was taken. An almost unanimous
resolution was passed on to The Holy One Blessed Be He that
the Torah be given to the angels, citing the law of Torah
The reply came instantly, in the form of a cryptic memo:
"See Rashi ad loc., the words beginning, "Akum, etc."."
Angels are quick. "It means that the Torah has already been
sold. Our case is not with The Boss, Blessed Be He, but with
Moses. He is hereby giving Moses permission to present his
Moses, the man who defied Pharaoh and argued with G-d, took
the stand. He held two impressive carved stones in his arms.
THE SINAI FILES, PART II
Last we left off, the supernal realms were in turmoil.
After extreme debate, the Heavenly Court resolved the
Torah must be given to them and not to the Children of
Israel--citing a ruling in the gemora "Baba Metzia". Their
case was sealed, victory declared, but The Holy One Blessed
Be He responded by referring the angels to Moses himself for
a rebuttal. Now Moses, the half-man, half-angel who defied
Pharaoh and argued even with G-d, took the stand. He held two
impressive carved stones in his arms. The heavens trembled.
MOSES TAKES A STAND
"This Torah about which we are arguing," he began, "what
is written in it?"
Already, there were tears in the eyes of Angels of Mercy.
The Angels of Judgement shifted uncomfortably in their
places. Others sat immersed in deep thought. The mockers were
silenced. Moses looked back down to read from his tablets.
"Yes, we've been through all that," mocked one of the
angels. He elbowed a colleague, "Look who's trying to teach
us Torah! Heh, heh!"
Moses continued, unperturbed, "I am the Lord your G-d Who
took you out of the land of Egypt..."
His eyes scanned the hall. "So, you heavenly beings
descended to Egypt?" With each word, his voice rose louder--
but still controlled.
"You soiled your hands with bricks and mortar? Suffered
the sting of the taskmaster's whip? Watched as your brothers
and sisters and your very own children cried in pain and
succumbed to the perverse cruelty of their oppressors?"
"Let's see what else it says here: "You shall have no
other gods before Me."
His words echoed in the silent hall. Now Moses took his
chance and made his words sharp as a dagger: "I say, this
Torah is not relevant to any of you in the first place!"
He looked up. "Now, tell me, who is that written for? For
beings who perceive the Oneness of G-d as everyday reality?
Or for us who live in darkness, among nations who stray after
literally hundreds of gods--each god with its seductive
allure and missionary cult? Is it not *we* who are the ones
to be told to have no other gods?"
Indignation rose. But there was no retort.
Moses had his head back into those tablets.
"Now lets see what's next...Taking G-d's name in vain! Now, who
would take G-d's name in vain?"
The angels were puzzled. Who *would* take G-d's name in
vain? The words were meaningless to them.
"So let me explain: Earthly beings make business. I know
you find that sort of thing rather appalling, but that's what
we do. In business you sometimes have to take an oath, to
assure the other party. Someone taking a false oath and using
Delight and gladness once again returned to the angels'
court. Many cried together in unison: "Yes! He is right! Our
mitzvahs will be so much more sublime than whatever they can
do! Yes! The Torah belongs to us, the ministering angels!"
"Oh, no!" they screamed in horror. "Please don't go on!"
"Very well. You get the point."
He continued: "Now we get to the Holy Day of Shabbat. "Six
days a week you work..."
"...And on the seventh," they rejoined, "a holy day of
rest to the Eternal..."
"Rest?" countered Moses. "But when did you last *work* for
"We sing. Like Holy, holy..."
"I mean work! Like plow, sow, harvest, build and tear
down--refashion the world about you through physical
"You mean to say," enjoined one of the more thoughtful of
the angels, "that you need the Torah more than us. You need
it for your very survival, considering the perilous
conditions in which you live. Well, this is an interesting
argument, and we are quite willing to argue this point..."
"No!" a more hot-headed angel interrupted. "Torah is the
life of all worlds--ours included! Without Torah their world
cannot go on, but neither can we! Imagine if all the
effulgence of divine energy we received were put into their
hands!? One letter of a mezuzah improperly written by one of
these careless creatures, and entire worlds could go under!
One incorrect blessing could wreak irreparable havoc for
thousands of us! How could we allow *our* life force to be in
"I don't think that's his point at all," repined another
ethereal abstraction. "What he's been asserting all this time
is that the precepts of the Torah are only applicable in the
material realm. Now, this is preposterous: We all know that
everything that exists in the material realm first exists in
a spiritual sense here above, just as audible speech first
exist as thoughts within the mind."
"That angel over there, he is the life source of an oak
tree on a hill on Manhattan island. And that one is a
squirrel who lives in it. This fellow next to me is a rock at
the bottom of the Aegean Sea. We are all the primal sources
of all creatures below, from the inanimate to blades of grass
to the wild and domesticated animals--even including the
animal soul within Man. All the forces of nature and its
elements, earth, water, air and fire, all are but mere
reflections of our sublime intellects in their state of being
here above. Every nuance of every wave of the sea, every
brustle of leaves in the wind begins here..."
"Would you kindly cut the didactics and get to your point?!"
"...What I mean to say is that if they can fulfill these
precepts in their lower realm, than all the more so can we in
a spiritual sense. And we do: Every day we make our escape
from an abstract Egypt--the bounds and limitations of being
as we transcend to higher realms. Once a week, we keep the
Shabbat by leaving the worlds created by divine speech and
rising to the inner worlds of divine thought. We can do acts
of kindness by bringing Divine energy lower. We can perform
the sacrifices and prayer services by raising divine sparks
higher. All through our meditation and song and great
"Yes!" exclaimed an Angel of Excitement. "Whatever
earthlings can do, angels can do better!"
"And you, dear Moses," one turned sympathetically to the
stand, "you need not feel left out: You or any of your people
will be permitted to delve into the Paradise of Kaballa,
untie yourselves from your earthly bonds and join us in
Heavenly harmony once again filled the cosmos. Pure,
enchanting light flowed down from above. The dance choir had
already risen and was carrying a protesting Moses on their
shoulders, singing: "Holy, holy....blessed be...ad
infinitum!...Come sing with us!..."
It was then that the ancient being who had spoken earlier
in our drama cleared his throat once again. It was ever so
subtle, yet immediately the song and dance stopped. All heads
turned respectfully. All audial senses were alert.
"I've been paying careful attention," he began, "and I
don't think any of you have interpreted our dear Rabbi Moses
This was not what the angels had expected to hear. Energy
levels sank sharply.
"He seems to have in mind something much deeper than you
fathom. According to Moses," the venerable sage leaned on his
luminant staff, "there is something special about the
material realm that we have yet to realize. Something that
somehow makes it the appropriate place for Torah to be--for
our own good as well. I submit that we must allow him to
Reluctantly, the heavenly court was forced to agree.
MOSES HITS WHERE IT HURTS
Moses was also hesitant about the next one. After all, it
certainly was not "politically correct". But the stakes were
too high. Moses looked back down into the tablets and read:
"Honor your mother and your father."
The angels saw what was coming. They began to wish they
had never started all this in the first place.
"So??!!" his powerful voice shook the walls. "Where are
your mothers and fathers."
Even the most sublime of metaphysical intellects needed
time to think about that--but Moses didn't even give them a
"Umm, Moses...we don't do that sort of thing up here, we just..."
"So you admit!" Moses lurched forward, "You are creations
of light! You *have* no mother or father! This miracle
belongs only to us! Only in *our* world is reflected the most
awesome, essential power of the Divine--the power to create
being out of nothingness."
"And now see what else is written here: "Do not murder! Do
not steal! Do not covet!..."--is there then jealousy up here?
Do you fight one with the other? Do you struggle with an
ominous darkness inside? Do any of you have these warped
emotions that plague us below, this perverse drive to rebel
against our very Source of Life and deny there is any
authority outside of our own selves?!!"
The angels were lost. Moses' eyes opened wide. "Look
below," he uttered softly.
"But, Moses, you take *pride* in this?!"
"Yes!" Moses retorted, "Because when we shall use the
magnificent power of the Torah to resist, to redirect those
nefarious energies to channels of holiness, to overcome
darkness and transform it to light...we shall have uncovered
in the cosmos the Source of All Being Himself. For as He
creates out of the void a being that feels absolute autonomy,
we shall make that ultimate of being admit its nothingness. "
SECRETS OF THE DEPTHS REVEALED
The lights were dimmed. Two walls of the hall slid back
and a huge screen was revealed. The angels watched as a young
girl lit a candle in a dim room. The flame took hold and
without warning, the heavens were filled with a blinding
"What is it? We have never experienced this light before!"
On the screen, a family was seen, sitting around a table
with wine and challah, talking and eating. Puzzlingly enough,
the television was blank--even though the NBA finals were
playing that night. The family began to sing--adults and
children together. In their world it seemed a cacophony of
noise--but in the hall from where the angels observed there
resonated the sweetest of holy harmony.
"Keep watching," Moses told them.
"Who wrote that stuff?" the choirmaster demanded. "I've
never heard anything like it!"
"Keep watching," said Moses.
They watched as earthlings sacrificed time from work to
squeeze in a few prayers or catch a few words of Torah, as
small children rejected candies because they weren't kosher,
as these creatures transformed mundane activities of eating,
sleeping and bodily functions into divine service with a
simple blessing. With each scene, flashes of light jumped out
from the material world and the objects of their deeds began
to glow with divine emanation.
"What are those?" an angel asked, astounded.
The ancient sage of the angels replied, his voice filled
with awe, "Those are the divine lost sparks that fell from
high beyond our world at the dawn of creation. These beings
somehow have the ability to uncover them with their deeds,
thereby transforming material objects into holy vessels."
"They make darkness into light!"
"Being into non-being!"
"You haven't seen nothing yet." Moses spoke, "Watch this!"
The date stamp at the bottom right of the screen indicated
it was the eve of the final redemption. An earthly being sat
and stared into a 17 inch trinitron tube, every once in a
while clicking a button or typing on a keyboard. It seemed a
dull activity, yet the angels could feel an essence-light
emanating from those fingers and that machine, a light that
seemed it could finally uncover the secret of Oneness within
all the created realms.
"What is he doing?" begged the angels.
"The earthly beings created horrible
tools of rampage and destruction, tools which they almost
used to destroy all of their world. But now they have begun
to transform these tools into good. This being is using an
evolution of such a tool for connecting with other minds
across the planet and learning Torah from them and with them,
spreading kindness and wisdom."
Now his audience was receptive. They realized that Moses
had chosen an argument that satisfied their needs as well,
and even beyond their highest expectations. They were to get
"You mean to say they use a tool created out of their most
evil impulses to reveal the Oneness of their souls that
transcends space and time?" they asked.
"You couldn't have put it better," replied Moses.
"You see," he continued, "you conceive of Torah as it
would be in your realm: Now you have light--Torah, you
imagine, would be just more of the same. More inner, more
essential, but just light."
"But, for us," Moses went on, "Torah is more than light.
When we take the Torah He gave us, we hold in our hands G-d
The angels were about to begin their applause and sing a
new song. But then...
"Midrash Rabba, Leviticus 30,13," cited a scholarly angel.
"In the essence of the Torah is the Essence of G-d, and
where is that revealed? Not here in the heavens, but there in
the darkness, in the struggle to find good within the evil
"Wait!" shouted one of the Angels of Compulsive-
Obsessiveness, "Have you all forgotten? What about the Rights
Of The Neighbor clause?"
"Baba Metzia, ibid. Maimonides ibid 14.1," cited Moses.
""If the neighbor wants the property for planting seeds and
the buyer bought it to build a home, the law does not apply."
We are using the Torah to make the cosmos into a dwelling
place for G-d in all his essence, a true *home* for Him. And
that can only be accomplished by working in our realm, as
The applause broke out like water breaking through a dam.
The choir began their recital with such enthusiasm as never
"And that," added the ancient of angels, a gleam in his
eye, "is the purpose of all of Creation. Midrash Tanchuma,
"Moses!"--one of the angels stepped forward to shake
hands, "That was great! You know, you Jews make good
Moses had not just won the Torah, he had won friends and
allies. Our sages say that each of the divine beings gave him
gifts and revealed their secrets to him. Even the Angel of
Death, they tell us, whispered to him the secret of the holy
incense--which he used later to prevent a plague.
And on that day, as the Eternal G-d descended on Mount
Sinai, heaven came down to earth.
Sources: Likutei Sichos of the Lubavitcher Rebbe, volume 18,
The story is based on the Talmud Tractate Shabbat, according to an
ancient explanation of a lost midrash that the argument of the angels
centered around a ruling in Baba Metzia. The Rebbe explained how Moses'
rebuttal matches their argument.