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The Whole Is Greater Than The Sum Of The Parts


The Torah tells us that Hashem spoke with Moshe from various places. These included the Holy of Holies between the Cherubim, by the altar of the burnt offerring (mizbach ha’olah) and in the courtyard of the Ohel Moed. In this week’s parshah, Parshas Tetzaveh, Hashem tells Moshe that he will meet with them, i.e. bnei Yisrael, regularly (Shemos 29:43). All the meetings and conversations between Hashem and Moshe were for the sake of the Jewish People. If there would be no bnei Yisrael, there would be no need for Moshe.

Likewise, Rashi comments that Hashem told Moshe to descend from the mountain after the people sinned with the golden calf because the only reason he was granted higher status is for the Jewish people. Now that they have sinned and were about to be rejected, there would be no reason for Moshe to continue to enjoy that status (Shemos 32:7). According to Rashi, for Moshe to be the intermediary for regular meetings between Hashem and knesses Yisrael, Moshe could not separate himself and remain aloof from the people. Had he chosen to be an elitist and isolate himself in the Holy of Holies, away from the rest of knesses Yisrael, he would have been like the fruit without the branches or the protecting leaves of the vine. He would lose his connection to the rest of bnei Yisrael and could not represent them. Only by standing outside of the Holy of Holies could he maintain his critical role as that link between Hashem and the people, to hear the voice that emanated from between the Cherubim on behalf of all of bnei Yisrael.

About the Author: Rabbi Joshua Rapps attended the Rav's shiur at RIETS from 1977 through 1981 and is a musmach of Yeshivas Rabbeinu Yitzchak Elchanan. He and his wife Tzipporah live in Edison, N.J. Rabbi Rapps can be contacted at ravtorah1@gmail.com.

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2 Responses to “The Whole Is Greater Than The Sum Of The Parts”

  1. This is why I have a problem with celebrity worship in the US. Compared to what people of lesser status do and provide to society, most celebrities are worthless.

  2. Gary Harper says:

    This is what it means to not elevate one above another. HaShem is not a respecter of a position, or a social standing. The elevation of one above another is always the first step on the path to slavery, whether by man, or by material things. Each has his appointed place, and is to take no pride in it, but is to work for the Name, and for the behalf his fellow man. An excellent article, appreciated by this Goy.

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