web analytics
September 16, 2014 / 21 Elul, 5774
At a Glance
Judaism
Sponsored Post
Apartment 758x530 Africa-Israel at the Israel Real Estate Exhibition in New York

Africa Israel Residences, part of the Africa Israel Investments Group led by international businessman Lev Leviev, will present 7 leading projects on the The Israel Real Estate Exhibition in New York on Sep 14-15, 2014.



Home » Judaism » Parsha »

Present, Yet Anonymous

YU-Torah-logo

One of the most striking features of this week’s parsha is the absence of Moshe Rabbeinu’s name, an omission which occurs only once from the beginning of Sefer Shemos until Moshe’s death at the end of Sefer Devraim. The Ba’al HaTurim notes this omission and quotes the Zohar which attributes the absence to Moshe Rabbeinu‘s quasi challenge to Hakadosh Baruch Hu in Parshas Ki Sisa to either forgive the nation or else “macheini na misifrecha asher kasavta – erase my name from the book which You have written.” The Ba’al HaTurim comments that even though the nation was forgiven and saved, the kelalah of a chacham must in some way be fulfilled – hence Moshe’s name has been partially “erased.”  While the Zohar’s rationale for excluding Moshe’s name makes sense, what it doesn’t address is why it was done specifically in Parshas Tetzaveh as opposed to any other parsha. (See the Ba’al HaTurim, Tosefes Bracha and others for various explanations.)

To fully make sense of this issue one needs to understand two other incidents in Moshe Rabbeinu‘s life that the meforshim struggled to fully comprehend. The first is the drama that played out at the end of Sefer Shemos immediately after the Mishkan had been erected. The Torah tells us that “lo yachol Moshe lavo el Ohel Moed Moshe was unable to enter the Ohel Moed,” the sacred space of the mishkan. Rashi, quoting the Sifra, believes that Moshe’s inability to enter the Ohel Moed, at this specific time, is because “shachan alav he’anan – the cloud of glory had descended upon the mishkan.” The Medrash asserts that once the cloud of glory ascended, once the specific manifestation of G-d’s Shechinah was no longer present, then Moshe was free to enter.

YU-020714-Yad    The Netziv challenges this explanation with a different Medrash that relates that Moshe Rabbeinu had entered the Kodesh HaKadoshim, a place where the Shechinah was always present. Additionally, the Gemara (Yoma 4a) records the position of Rav Yosi HaGelili who maintains that when Moshe stood on Har Sinai he was ensconced by the “kevod Hashem.” Why would Moshe be allowed to come in close contact in these two instances, but not right after the Mishkan was erected? (See Rav Avigdor Neventzal for a beautiful explanation.)

Secondly, there is another Gemara (Menachos 29b) equally famous and perplexing. In short, the Gemara relates that when Moshe Rabbeinu was “alah la’marom,” when he ascended on high, he was able to gaze into the future and see Rabi Akiva, who derived the laws found in the Oral Torah from the most minute detail found in the Written Torah. To some degree this Talmudic exegesis was foreign to Moshe, and the Gemara records that “tashash kocho,” that he became saddened by his exclusion from this system. Subsequently, the Gemara records that as Moshe looked on, one of Rabi Akiva’s students asked him where he knew a certain halacha from. Rabi Akiva answered that it was “halacha l’Moshe m’Sinai,” it was a tradition passed down directly from Moshe Rabbeinu. Upon hearing his name, the Gemara tells us, “nisyashva da’aso – Moshe became assuaged.” How do we explain that Moshe Rabbeinu felt both saddened by his exclusion and then ultimately buoyed by the mention of his name in the Talmudic proceedings?

I recently saw a letter written by Rav Yehuda Copperman, dean emeritus of Michlalah, that offers an insight into Moshe Rabbeinu‘s life that sheds light on the questions we have heretofore raised. Moshe’s birth is described somewhat anonymously as “Vayeleich ish m’beis Levi vayikach es bas Levi.” One would think that the circumstances leading up to Moshe’s birth would be handled with greater fanfare and focus on who these great individuals were, where they came from and what was outstanding about their personalities. (See the Shaarei Orah for a beautiful explanation.)

About the Author: Rabbi Josh Blass serves as Mashgiach Ruchani at YU-affiliated Rabbi Isaac Elchanan Theological Seminary.


If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.

Our comments section is intended for meaningful responses and debates in a civilized manner. We ask that you respect the fact that we are a religious Jewish website and avoid inappropriate language at all cost.

If you promote any foreign religions, gods or messiahs, lies about Israel, anti-Semitism, or advocate violence (except against terrorists), your permission to comment may be revoked.

One Response to “Present, Yet Anonymous”

  1. I never saw it like this before. Judaism could have easily have become a cult, like most other religions, if it weren't for his humility. After all he did, he wouldn't enter the city for a minor infraction, while most leaders (secular or religious) tend to think so highly of themselves that they spend their entire lives trying to leave a legacy so that their names are not forgotten, even when they commit worse infractions than he ever did. Good read, Rabbi. Most of it went over my head, but what little I get, I'm glad.

Comments are closed.

SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Current Top Story
American F-16 fighter jets
First Time: US Bombs ISIS Near Baghdad to Support Iraqi Troops
Latest Judaism Stories
15th century Book of the Torah

This week’s parsha offers a new covenant; a covenant that speaks to national life unlike any other

Leff-091214

All Jews are inherently righteous and that is why we all have a portion in the World to Come.

Grunfeld-Raphael-logo

If mourning is incompatible with Yom Tov, why is it not incompatible with Shabbat?

Taste-of-Lomdus-logo

Since it is a Rabbinic prohibition we may follow the more lenient opinion.

How can the Torah expect me today, thousands of years after the mitzvahs were given, to view each mitzvah as if I’m fulfilling it for the first time?

Torah isn’t a theological treatise or a metaphysical system but a series of stories linked over time

In contrast to her Eicha-like lamentations of the previous hour or more, however, my youngest was now grinning from ear-to-ear.

An Astonishing Miracle
‘Why Bring the Infants to Hakhel?’
(Chagigah 3a)

Question: I recently loaned money to a friend who has been able to repay only part of it. This was an interest-free loan. We exchanged a signed IOU, not a proper shtar with witnesses, since I have always trusted her integrity and only wanted a document that confirms what was loaned and what was repaid. Now that shemittah is approaching, what should I do? Should I forgive the loan? And if my friend is not able to repay it, may I deduct the unpaid money from my ma’aser requirement?

Name Withheld

e are in a time of serious crisis and must go beyond our present levels of chesed.

According to Ibn Ezra, the Torah was stressing through this covenant that hypocrisy was forbidden.

“Tony said that the code in most places in the U.S. is at least 36 inches for a residential guardrail,” replied Mr. Braun. “Some make it higher, 42, or even 52 inches for high porches. What is the required height according to halacha?”

Simcha is total; sahs is God’s joy in protecting us even when we are most vulnerable.

Not only do we accept You as our King, it is our greatest desire that the name of Your Kingdom be spread throughout the entire universe.

More Articles from Rabbi Yehoshua Blass
YU-Torah-logo

One of the most striking features of this week’s parsha is the absence of Moshe Rabbeinu’s name, an omission which occurs only once from the beginning of Sefer Shemos until Moshe’s death at the end of Sefer Devraim.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/judaism/parsha/present-yet-anonymous/2014/02/07/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: