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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  1. Been away awhile, myself, & it’s good to find you back… for awhile, is it?

    So this is the occasion when Himself starts thundering down Commands & big flaming rocks; so the people say, “Hey Moses! He makes us nervous when He’s like this! You talk to Him, okay?”

    This perhaps has to do with the innate human fear that hearing God too clearly might mean not liking what He has to say about one…?

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