Student Teaching in the New Millenium

Pesach and God’s Face

In Exodus on March 31, 2013 at 12:32 am

We discussed Moses’ request to see God’s face in Torah study this morning. It was a very interesting discussion. People struggled with the idea of an abstract God whose “back” could be seen, but whose “face” could not be. If the sight of God is so awesome that it could destroy a man, what difference does it make whether you see God’s back or God’s face? What does it mean to look on God, as Moses did? What does this encounter tell us about ourselves, and our relationships with each other?

Is God’s face a dangerous secret?

What about Pesach, whose portion this is? Why discuss these issues on Pesach? One of the reasons we wear tefillin to daven is so that the name of God can be upon us (paraphrase from Shulchan Aruch). This is accomplished literally; the different ways of tying tefillin usually spell “Shaddai,” on of God’s names, on our body. So is that which bears the name, also the face? Is God’s face…..people?

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Balak Seeing and Moab Fearing

In General on July 7, 2012 at 6:00 pm

And Balak the son of Zippor saw all that Israel had done to the Amorites. And Moab was sore afraid of the people, because they were many; and Moab was overcome with dread because of the children of Israel.

Bamidbar 22.2-3

How could Balak “see” all the Israel had done to the Amorites?

Did Balak see only the episode with Sihon and the Amorites? Or did he see what happened to Og too?

Who are these “people”? What is the difference between these “people” and the “children of Israel?”

Why does the text say “Balak…saw…And Moab was…afraid?” Was Balak afraid too? Or not?

Discuss: Moses Received Torah From Sinai (Avot 1.1)

In Talmud on July 2, 2012 at 7:34 am

MOSES RECEIVED TORAH FROM SINAI AND HANDED IT ON TO JOSHUA, AND JOSHUA TO THE ELDERS, AND THE ELDERS TO THE PROPHETS, AND THE PROPHETS HANDED IT ON TO THE MEN OF THE GREAT ASSEMBLY.

THEY SAID THREE THINGS:

BE DELIBERATE IN JUDGEMENT,
RAISE MANY DISCIPLES,
AND MAKE A HEDGE ABOUT THE TORAH.