Monday, September 26, 2022

After managing to convince Hashem, God, to spare and forgive the Jewish people following the Chet haEgel, the sin of the golden calf, Moshe Rabbeinu achieved a level of closeness with Hashem that was unparalleled in human history. Moshe saw an opportunity to learn more about Hashem. He proceeded to ask God to see His glory. Hashem’s response was that Moshe’s request could not be fulfilled since man cannot see the Divine and live. Yet, Hashem partially granted Moshe’s request. It is difficult for us to understand what is meant by the description of God, as one of our fundamental beliefs is that Hashem does not have a physical form whatsoever. Moshe was permitted to see Hashem’s “back” as He passed him, but Moshe could not see the “front” of Hashem. Our Rabbis explain that Moshe saw the kesher, the knot of Hashem’s tefillin.

The Torat Moshe explains that this was not merely a physical experience. Hashem was teaching Moshe that, at times, man would only be able to recognize Hashem’s intervention in life after the fact. How often do we find ourselves looking at history and recognizing how events fit into place like a puzzle? While we may have the ability to see the hand of Hashem after the fact, it is at times difficult to see Hashem’s providence during a given experience. This idea is rooted in the fact that Hashem showed Moshe His “back,” but not His “face.” An important lesson that we may glean is that even when we cannot see Hashem’s hand at any given moment, we maintain faith that He is impacting our experiences and that one day we may be able to see how He did so.

By Rabbi  Eliezer Zwickler

Eliezer Zwickler is senior rabbi of Congregation AABJ&D in West Orange, NJ. Rabbi Zwickler is also a psychotherapist-LCSW in private practice, focusing on couples therapy. Listen to Rabbi Zwickler’s “webdvar” on the Nachum Segal Network at 9pm each Motzei Shabbat, or on his YouTube channel (ezwickler). Rabbi Zwickler can be reached at [email protected]


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