In the Hebrew year 2448 (1312 BCE), after crossing the Red Sea, the Jews came to a place called Mara -- literally "bitter," because the water there was bitter. The people complained and Moses miraculously made the waters turn sweet. It was here that God gave the Jews some of the first mitzvot -- the laws of Shabbat and some civil laws -- in anticipation of the giving of the Torah at Mount Sinai, some six weeks later.
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