The events of the revelation at Sinai before and after are split up into 3 sections in the Book of Shemos. The first is in last week’s Torah portion of Yisro, a detailed account leading up to and including the actual giving of the Torah, andthe Ten Commandments. The second is at the end of this week’s portion of Mishpatim, which according to Rashi is an overview of what took place right before the Torah was given, including the famous proclamation by the Jewish people of na’aseh vinishma, “we will do and then we will listen.” The third section is in Ki Sisa, discussing what took place after the Jews received the Torah, specifically concerning the sin of the golden calf.
There is a famous Chaza”l about how Hashem went around to all the nations, giving them a chance to accept the Torah before he came to the Jews and they wholeheartedly said na’aseh vinishma, without even asking what was inside the Torah. There is a very important lesson that could be learnt from the version of the story presented in the Pesiksa Rabasi of Rav Kahana (21:3).
The medrish writes that in the beginning Hashem went to the descendants of Esav. He asked them, will you accept the Torah? They said before Him, “Master of the Universe, what is written inside it?” He said, “Don’t kill” (Shemos 20:13). They said, “The whole essence of our being is that our forefathers guaranteed we will live by the sword, as it says, ‘By your sword you shall live’ (Breishis 27:40), we can’t accept the Torah.” Afterwards Hashem went to the descendants of Ammon and asked them if they will accept the Torah. They said before Him, “Master of the Universe, what is written inside it?” He said to them, “Don’t have incest.” They said to Him, “The whole essence of our being came from incest, as it says ‘Thus, Lot’s two daughters conceived from their father’ (Breishis 19:16), we can’t accept the Torah.” Afterwards Hashem went to the descendants of Yishmael and asked them if they would accept the Torah. They said before Him, “Master of the Universe, what is written inside it?” He said to them, “Don’t steal.” They said to Him, “The whole essence of our being lives off of stealing and burglarizing, as it writes, ‘And he will be a wild donkey of a man; his hand will be upon all, and everyone’s hand upon him’ (Breishis 16:12), we can’t accept the Torah.” Afterwards Hashem came to the Jews, and they said na’aseh vinishma, “we will do and then we will listen” (Shemos 24:7). For this reason the Torah writes, “He appeared from Mount Paran and came with some of the holy myriads; from His right hand was a fiery Law for them. Indeed, You showed love for peoples” (Devarim 33:2, 3). (Click here for Hebrew text.)
The Bi’ur on this medrish, explaining why the medrish brings the pasuk of “from His right hand was a fiery Law for them. מִֽימִינ֕וֹ אֵ֥שׁ דָּ֖ת (כתיב אשדת) לָֽמוֹ,” says in Hebrew, “ “ואפשר דדריש מימינו כמו מאמינו . This means that it is possible to understand the Hebrew term that refers to “from His right hand” to be read as the Hebrew term for believers. The intention being that because of the faith and trust that the Jews entrusted in Hashem, and said, “we will do and then we will listen,” as it says in Gemara Shabbos 88a “About us, who proceed wholeheartedly and with integrity, it is written: “The integrity of the upright will guide them” (Proverbs 11:3), whereas about those people who walk in deceit, it is written at the end of the same verse: ‘And the perverseness of the faithless will destroy them,’” therefore the medrish concludes that they merited to have ‘a fiery law for them.’ (Click here for Hebrew text.)
The other nations seemed to have very valid excuses for why they couldn’t accept the Torah. What could they do, what could you expect from them if it is within their genetic makeup, the way they were born was with a drive to kill, act immodestly, or steal? They even proved it was part of their destiny because of the traditions they had from their progenitors which were even quoted in the Torah. For example the blessing Hagar received for Yishmael her son by an angel, and the blessing that Yitzchak gave to Esav. If that is the case, then why did Hashem pick the hardest mitzvah for them when they asked what was in the Torah? Why doom them from the start?
However, it would seem from Hashem’s response to the Children of Israel that what Hashem was really looking for was a people who truly believed and trusted in Him. So, when the other nations asked what was in the Torah, Hashem gave them the hardest mitzvah for them to observe to test their faith in Hashem and His Torah and obviously they were not willing to be faithful. If they would have been trusting and faithful, they would have realized and believed in the fact that they had the ability to overcome their inborn challenges and that Hashem would not have given them or even created mitzvos they would not be able to adhere to. But the Jewish people showed the ultimate enthusiasm and wholehearted true faith by not even asking what was inside the Torah but by blindly accepting “we will do and then we will listen.” For showing Hashem they were willing and ready to accept whatever Hashem commanded and expected of them they merited to have ‘a fiery law for them,’ they received the Torah, Hashem’s blueprints of creation and the handbook for mankind.