כג קְרַב אַתָּה וּשְׁמָע, אֵת כָּל-אֲשֶׁר יֹאמַר יְהוָה אֱלֹהֵינוּ; וְאַתְּ תְּדַבֵּר אֵלֵינוּ, אֵת כָּל-אֲשֶׁר יְדַבֵּר יְהוָה אֱלֹהֵינוּ אֵלֶיךָ--וְשָׁמַעְנוּ וְעָשִׂינוּ. 23 Go thou near, and hear all that the LORD our God may say; and thou shalt speak unto us all that the LORD our God may speak unto thee; and we will hear it and do it.'
The question here is: Why is the female form of 'you' utilized? Why does it say אַתְּ?
Here's Artscroll's rendering of R' Sorotzkin (I would look up the exact wording except Aznaim L'Torah is on reference at Gottesman and thus that would require going there and only using the book in the library):
- And you should speak to us. Why did they address Moses with the word at, the feminine form of 'you?' Rashi (q.v.) explains that Moses was so dismayed at this request of theirs that he "became as weak as a woman."
I think that we can understand Rashi's last few words thus: A woman is not merely on the receiving end of creation. She does not just "receive" a seed and then have it grow into a baby; she also shapes the growing fetus. For consider: one drop enters her, and in the end a living being is born. No one in the world can tell what will become of this tiny seed: whether it will come to be a child at all, and if so whether male or female, wise or foolish, strong or weak, beautiful or ugly. Only the woman, who grows and shapes this seed, helps develop all of these characteristics to recognizable form. At birth all can see the baby's gender and its physical characteristics, and soon after its mental abilities, too, none of which could be recognized in the original seed.
Now, when the Children of Israel heard God's voice speaking from the midst of the fire, their souls fled from them. They could not understand the Divine word nor comprehend what was expected of them, for this was suddenly beyond their comprehension. So they said to Moses, "Since you can listen and understand all this, you approach and hear everything that God has to say. But don't repeat things exactly as you heard them, because we cannot understand these things as they are. Instead, you [at] speak to us: do for us what a woman can do, who shapes from a seemingly meaningless drop a lovely child whose nature and gifts can be clearly seen. You, at, absorb all that God says, and form it into clear, plain words for us, that we can 'hear and do.'
We can understand in the same way why the Haggadah says of the son who does not know how to ask, "You- at- open the way for him." If this child is so limited in his abilities that, although he sees how different everything is on this Seder night, he cannot even think how to ask about it, you make yourself like a woman and shape the words for him into a form he can understand.
-Insights in the Torah: Devarim, the commentary of the Oznayim LaTorah, translated by Rabbi Yaakov Lavon, pages 82-83