Juliet Stromin - Dvar Torah
My portion today talks about Moses wanting Hashem to identify himself. He needs proof in order to trust him. Adonaithen talks to the people of Israel, if they obey his commandments; he will protect and provide for them but warns them to stay close to their religion and not to mix with the idol-worshipping tribes. Hashemalso talks about how wonderful the Promised Land is going to be for the Jews and we should be thankful for what Adonai has provided for us. I’d like to talk about Moses’s relationship with Adonai when he wants him to reveal himself.
Moses with the help of Adonai is supposed to be leading them to the land of Israel.Moses seems to be uncertain about accepting Hashem’s directions and he worries that the people may not follow him. Therefore he wants recognition and he feels that he deserves to see Hashem which will then give him credibility and confidence to lead his people. Hashem’s initial response is ‘Don’t worry, I’m here, you will feel my presence’ but that is not good enough for Moses. Moses pushes it more and Adonai agrees by saying,’ I’ll do it because I know you by name,’ meaning he knows that Moses is a good person and has the qualities to believe in Hashem. He says he will reveal himself to Moses but he does so by only showing him his back for his face is too glorious and powerful that it would overwhelming anyone who saw it and would subsequently die.
Does he do this because he is physically too overwhelming or does he just want Moses to trust him and shouldn’t need to show him proof. Is it then only possible to trust in something if it can only be experienced through one of your senses? Do you need to physically hear or see something to believe in its existence? The belief is easy, it’s easy to believe in something we can physically see or hear but it is harder to accept things such as religion and Adonai, UFO’s and the Tokoloshe yet every day I live with trust in people and love from people when I cannot physically see it.
So why then if Moses knows that Adonai exists why does he still need to see him? Maybe it’s because us reading the Torah need to understand the importance of Moses. Or maybe it is because Moses felt that after leading the Jews under Hashem’s command he felt he deserved to see Hashem because he had earned that right and that honour.I know that for me hearing or seeing something is not as satisfying as physical interacting with it. My grandparents live in Melbourne, Australia. I Skype them every Sunday Morning and while it’s great to catch up and see them through a blurry web cam, it is not as good as physically being with them where the possibilities of interaction is much greater. So for Moses, he yearned to see Adonai physically and to know that he trusted him Let’s face it; He just wanted a better connection.
We’ve asked all these question that we don’t necessarily know all the answers to but what we do know is that Hashem showed himself to Moses but in the way in which he wanted. Adonai still kept a separation between humans and himself by only showing Moses his back. Moses was restricted from seeing all of Adonai’s glory for his own good. Although Moses was a great man he was still only a man. Adonai does not always come to us in the ways we want or expect but we will always feel his presence.This shows us that faith and trust is needed in religion. Much like relationships in modern day society, both respect and trust needs to be earned. During my time at shul, being involved in the cheder and preparing for my Bat mitzvah, I have started to learn more about my heritage. My knowledge has deepened and my understanding of the Torah has increased. I now know what it truly means to be a Jew as I have to come to respect the values of Judaism. Through this process, I have become closer with my family and the community at the Shul and subsequently, my connection with Hashem has changed. I believe that my relationship with Hashem will continue to grow and change as I do.