Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Parshat Ki Tisa, 4th Portion, Exodus 33:17-23, February 24, 2016

“He [Moses] said: “I will let all My goodness pass before you; I will proclaim the name of the Lord before you, and I will favor when I wish to favor, and I will have compassion when I wish to have compassion.” (Exodus 33:19)
This verse is interesting. I often hear that our image of God is a reflection of who we are. “Favor when I wish to favor,” is what we would often call a conflict of interest. I had recently come across an article saying that Hillary Clinton shouldn’t be speaking to Wall Street (at $200,000 per talk) because they will ask favors. The article (written after the Torah) suggested that the Talmud spoke against “favoring.”

I wonder, as well, what is the difference between favoring and compassion. Aren’t they very similar? Our heart goes out to the needy, so we favor them.
“And He said, “You will not be able to see My face, for man shall not see Me and live.” (Exodus 33:20)
  “And the Lord said: “Behold, there is a place with Me, and you shall stand on the rock.” (Exodus 33:21) 
“And it shall be that when My glory passes by, I will place you into the cleft of the rock, and I will cover you with My hand until I have passed by.” (Exodus 33:22) 
“Then I will remove My hand, and you will see My back but My face shall not be seen.” (Exodus 33:23)
Here’s a beautiful scene where God reveals his back to Moses, but not his face. It reminds us that to see God is to know God, and to know God would kill our relationship to her. Life is wonder. Live is about not pinning down God. We kill God by seeing his face, in the same way too much analysis can ruin a rich experience.

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