One of the most important phrases in the bible has often been used to characterize our faith as a whole. It consists of two Hebrew words: na’aseh venishma, literally, “We will do and we will hear” (Ex. 24:7). What does this mean and why does it matter?
There are two famous interpretations, one ancient, the other modern. The first, describe the enthusiasm and whole-heartedness with which the Israelites accepted the covenant with God at Mount Sinai. When they said to Moses, “All that the Lord has spoken we will do and we will hear”, they were saying, in effect: Whatever God asks of us, we will do – saying this before they had heard any of the commandments. The words “We will hear”, imply that they had not yet heard – not the Ten Commandments, or the other detailed laws that followed. So keen were they to signal their assent to God that they agreed to His demands before knowing what they were.