What are the connotations of "Tachtis ha'Har"?
Rashi #1: It means at the foot of the mountain.
Rashi #2 (citing the Midrash) and Targum Yonasan: It means 'underneath the mountain'
And warned them that if they do not accept the Torah, they would be buried on the spot (Shabbos, 88a)
Why does the Torah compare the smoke that rose from Har Sinai only to that of a furnace?
Rashi: The Pasuk in Devarim describes it as "a burning fire that reached the heart of the Heaven"
Rashi writes that Hashem raised the mountain over their heads. Such an acceptance of Torah (amidst coercion) is invalid!
Shabbos 88a: Later, in the days of Achashverosh, they willingly accepted it. 1
Gur Aryeh (17): Torah is essential. It was proper to give it through coercion; this is a higher level. Also refer to 19:4:4:4**.
Rashi writes that Hashem raised the mountain over their heads. Why was this needed? They had already declared 'Na'aseh v'Nishma'!
Hadar Zekenim (17), Riva (17), Moshav Zekenim (17, from Midrash Tanchuma): They had accepted only the written Torah. 1 Hashem coerced them to accept oral Torah.
Riva, citing Tosfos Shabbos 88a DH Kafah: Perhaps they would retract when they saw the great fire and their Neshamos left.
Moshav Zekenim: They already accepted only what they were commanded at Marah, but not what Hashem will add. 2 Yisrael received two crowns only later, when they said Na'aseh v'Nishma (Mahari).
Moshav Zekenim citing Bechor Shor: They meant, Na'aseh Aseres ha'Dibros; the rest, Nishma what we can bear.
Moshav Zekenim citing R. Elchanan: They retracted from Na'aseh v'Nishma, like it says in Shabbos (88b) that at every Dibur, Yisrael retreated 12 Mil, and angels pushed them back. Also, it says (verse 8) "all that Hashem said, we will do", and not 'all that Hashem will say.'
Gur Aryeh: Refer to 19:18:151:2.
Lev Eliyahu (p.167, from Maharal): Hashem wanted us to know that without Torah, man is like a vicious animal.
Riva: If so, why will the nations complain that Hashem did not coerce them (Avodah Zarah 2b)? They did not accept the written Torah! R"A - they thought that they will be rewarded for written Torah that they have, and ask why they were not coerced about oral Torah.
The verse of 'Na'aseh v'Nishma' is below (24:7). Most of the other Perushim explain that Yisrael already said so. This Perush disagrees; they had said only '.Na'aseh' (above, verse 8). (PF)
Why was there smoke? Fire of Shamayim does not make smoke (Yuma 21b)!
Moshav Zekenim citing R. Yeshayah: The smoke was to scare Bnei Yisrael.
Moshav Zekenim citing R. Yehudah ha'Chasid: Where there is Shechinah, there is smoke.