Parashat Yitro - Many Voices/ One G-d

In this week's parasha, Yitro, we read about b'nai Yisrael receiving the Torah at Har Sinai.  During this incredibly dramatic story (as well as its retelling in the book of Devarim) it is not entirely clear whether b'nai Yisrael heard any of the Torah from G-d directly, or whether they only heard it as spoken by Moshe.  There are many different interpretations, but our parasha seems to suggest they may have heard the aseret hadibrot (the Ten Commandments) directly.   Shemot Rabbah 29:1 on our parasha asks how this could be possible by bringing a different pasuk that suggests that human kind could not actually hear G-d's voice directly (Deut 4:33):

לג:  הֲשָׁמַע עָם קוֹל אֱלֹהִים מְדַבֵּר מִתּוֹךְ-הָאֵשׁ, כַּאֲשֶׁר-שָׁמַעְתָּ אַתָּה--וַיֶּחִי 

Did ever a people hear the voice of G-d speaking out of the midst of the fire, as you have heard, and live?  (Deut 4:33)

Rabbi Levi reconciles these two verses from the Torah by bringing yet a third verse, this one from the book of Tehillim/ Psalms (29:4) He says:
   אילו היה כתוב קול ה' בכחו, לא היה העולם יכול לעמוד, אלא קול ה' בכח, בכח של כל אחד ואחד. הבחורים לפי כחן, והזקנים לפי כחן, והקטנים לפי כחן. אמר הקב"ה לישראל: לא בשביל ששמעתם קולות הרבה, תהיו סבורין שמא אלוהות הרבה יש בשמים, אלא תהיו יודעים שאני הוא ה' אלהיך, שנאמר (שם ה):   אנכי ה' אלהיך(שמות רבה כ"ט:א)
Had it [the verse in psalms] said ‘The voice of G-d in His power’, the world would not have been able to survive, but it [the verse] says instead: The voice of Hashem is with/in power (Ps. 29:4)-that is, with/in the power of each individual, according to the individual power of the young, the old, and the very small ones. G-d said to Israel: ‘Do not believe that there are many deities in heaven because you have heard many voices, but know that I alone am Hashem your G-d,’ as it says, I am Hashem your G-d [who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage. You shall have no other gods before Me.] (Deut. 5:6) (Shemot Rabbah 29:1) 
In this remarkable Midrash, Rabbi Levi teaches us that each person heard the voice of G-d at Har Sinai in the way he/ she was able.  We each heard something a little bit different, because we are all individuals.  This is why there are so many interpretations of Torah, and why we each have something to add with our own insight.  This is also why people can disagree so vehemently about not just Torah but about philosophy, politics, and morality.  We each have a slightly different experience of what is "true" for us.  

Does this mean there are many different gods with different messages G-d forbid?  Of course not.  But sometimes we as humankind behave as though there are.  We worship our own opinions and those of others who agree with us.  We surround ourselves in echo chambers and only listen to the same voice we've been listening to all our lives; we listen to those who heard what we heard at Sinai.

To truly understand G-d's will and Torah, as well as live together peacefully, we must begin to accept that most of the people who disagree with us are not evil, they are not idol worshipers or of ill intent--usually they are people who have good intentions but who see and hear things differently than we do.  Hopefully, when we are able to, as the midrash teaches, listen to each individual "the young, the old, and the very small ones" we will be able to round out the story of reality and not only depend on the angle that we experienced at Sinai and continue to experience each day.  May it be G-d's will that we especially turn to the "very small ones," our children, during these times of strife, and listen to their simple but wholesome wisdom that they bring to us every day as a gift.