How was Moshe able to understand what Hashem was saying to him?
(1,1) “And He called to Moshe, and Hashem spoke to him from the Tent of Meeting, saying.”
Rashi explains here “For all expressions of speaking and expressions of saying, an expression of calling - which is an expression of affection - preceded them”.
In order to understand the words of Rashi, let us first look at the teaching of the Midrash (Bereishis Rabbah 63:10): “And Rivkah loved Ya’akov (Bereishis 25:28)” - every time that she heard the voice of Ya’akov she would increase her love.
The language of the Midrash is problematic, because it makes this teaching in connection with Rivkah hearing his voice - why couldn’t it have said “every time that Rivkah saw Ya’akov learning Torah she loved him”? Why does it make her love dependent upon his voice? Also, it says “when she heard the voice of Ya’akov she would increase her love” - this addition of love, what was it for?
But the Midrash can be explained according to the gemora Rosh Hashanah 27a which teaches that [on Rosh Hashanah] the trumpet [blasts] were shortened and the shofar [blast] was prolonged, because the mitzvah of the day is with the shofar.
The gemora objected that when there are two sounds [together] they cannot be heard (distiguished), so how does it help that [the shofar blast] was prolonged - surely we require the sound of the shofar [to be heard] from beginning to end! The gemora answered that since it is beloved it can be heard - since the mitzvah of the moment is beloved, even when there are two sounds it can be heard because of this affection.
Also, it says in the Zohar that when Ya’akov learned Torah, two voices were heard, as it says “and the voice is the voice of Ya’akov”.
So behold, all that the righteous Rivkah wanted was to hear words of Torah from her son Ya’akov, but when he was learning Torah two voices were heard, and we have an established principle that two sounds cannot be heard. What is the remedy for this? To make oneself an object of affection, so that due to that affection his voice can be heard even though it is a dual voice.
This is the meaning of the Midrash: The Midrash had a difficulty with the posuk - why did the posuk make a difference between Yitzchok’s love and Rivkah’s love? With Yitzchok it says “Yitzchok loved Eisav”, and so it should have said also with Rivkah “and Rivkah loved Ya‘akov”. So why does it say “and Rivkah loves”? This implies that she aroused her love of Ya’akov? What was the purpose of this arousal?
Therefore the Midrash comes to teach the reason for the arousal was of necessity, because whenever she heard the voice of Ya’akov - whenever Ya’akov was learning Torah - two voices were heard as we stated in the name of the Zohar, and two voices cannot be understood unless there is affection. Therefore each time Rivkah had to arouse her affection in order to hear the words of Torah from Ya’akov. How sweet are the words of the Midrash: “whenever Rivkah heard the voice of Ya‘akov” - specifically [when she heard] his voice [did she need to do this] - “she would increase her love”, as we have explained.
This, in combination with another teaching of the Zohar, is what Rashi means here. The Zohar says: Wherever it says “He (Hashem) said” it is a voice of mercy, and wherever it says “He spoke” it is a voice of justice. Therefore, since it says here “Hashem spoke to Moshe, saying” and thus contained two voices - a voice of mercy and a voice of justice, Rashi had a difficulty: What use was it to Moshe when Hashem spoke to him with two voices - surely two voices cannot be understood!
Therefore Rashi came to resolve this [by explaining] “For all expressions of speaking and expressions of saying”, that is, whenever there was both an expression of speaking and an expression of saying together, “an expression of calling - which is an expression of affection - preceded them”, and because of this affection he could hear even two voices.
Why does Rashi explain this posuk in the reverse order?
(1,2) “Speak to the Children of Yisrael, and say to them: When a man from [among] you brings an offering to Hashem, you should bring your offering from the livestock or from the cattle or from the flock.”
Rashi explains: “When a man from [among] you brings [an offering]” - the posuk is speaking about voluntary offerings (because the word 'when' implies a voluntary action). “אדם” - why does it say אדם (and not איש)? (Because it wishes to allude to Adam HaRishon, to teach us) that just like Adam HaRishon never brought sacrifices from stolen property because everything belonged to him, so too you - do not bring sacrifices from stolen property.
Intelligent individuals ask: Why did Rashi reverse the order of explaining the posuk? Rashi should have started his explanation with “why does it say אדם” and then he should have explained [the phrase] “when (a man) from [among] you brings”.
But behold, we have already discussed at length elsewhere the Tannaic dispute about whether the offerings that Bnei Noach brought were peace offerings (which are voluntary offerings) or burnt offerings (which are obligatory offerings), and [we explained] that their dispute is dependent on another Tannaic dispute about whether or not non-Jews are called אדם, like the teaching in Tanna Dvei Eliyohu: “When אדם brings” - this comes to exclude non-Jews with regard to peace offerings, because non-Jews can only bring burnt offerings, and he holds like the opinion of Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochai that non-Jews are not called אדם. But according to the Tanna who argues with him and holds that non-Jews are called אדם, if so, אדם does not come to exclude non-Jews with regard to peace offerings, and Bnei Noach did in fact bring peace offerings.
[With this we] now [see that] the words of Rashi were stated with clever precision. Because without this (before explaining that the posuk is speaking only about voluntary offerings, and thus assuming that the posuk is talking about both voluntary and obligatory offerings) Rashi could not have asked “why does it say אדם”, because maybe אדם is coming to exclude non-Jews with regard to peace offerings, because non-Jews only bring burnt offerings and not peace offerings, holding like the opinion of Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai that non-Jews are not called אדם.
Just to clarify: He is not saying that we learn from the word אדם in our posuk that non-Jews cannot bring voluntary offerings - the Tanna who holds that opinion either learned it from elsewhere or received the law from his teacher. Rather he is saying that according to that opinion, if our posuk would be speaking about all offerings it needed to write אדם to restrict the teaching of the posuk with regard to voluntary offerings to Jews, and thus the posuk would mean that anyone who brings an obligatory offering and Jews who bring a volutary offering must bring from livestock, etc. Because if it had written איש instead of אדם, and so not excluded non-Jews with regard to volutary offerings, our posuk could have been used as a proof against that opinion).
But now that we are forced to explain that “when (a man) from [among] you brings” teaches us that the posuk is speaking [only] about voluntary offerings, (if non-Jews cannot bring voluntary offerings there would be no need to exclude them from the instructions of this posuk, and hence it must be that) Bnei Noach brought peace offerings because Bnei Noach are also called אדם. If so we have a difficulty - why does it say אדם? Thus Rashi answers that אדם comes to teaches us that just like Adam HaRishon, etc.