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Showing posts from March, 2010

Pour Out Your Love

Every year at the very end of the Passover Seder, something shocking happens.We have come through a whole evening of telling the story of our miraculous redemption from slavery in Egypt.We have eaten the bread of humility, tasted the bitterness of slavery, and sung out in joy at our liberation as a people.We have shared a meal together and there is an incredible sense of gratitude and satisfaction.And then, just as it’s all about to end, we recite words of burning rage and anger:“Shfoch Chamatcha el hagoyim asher Lo Yeda’ucha,”“Pour out your Wrath against the nations who do not know you.”Pour out your wrath and destroy all the evil nations of this world!Why such anger?Why such bitterness?These words, of course, are recited as we come to “Elijah’s cup” in the seder.We open the door to let Elijah into our homes, and then we recite these words as Elijah comes to partake of the wine we have poured for him.And it is then that we experience such anger at the world. Why?It is, in fact, the v…

What is the Face of God?

If there’s anything that everyone in our tradition agrees on, it’s the greatness of Moses.He literally ascended higher, and came closer to the Divine than any other Jew in memory.And yet even Moses himself, says the Torah, longed to be closer to God.Even Moses, it seems, couldn’t bridge a gulf between his very humanity and God.In Parashat Ki Tissa, Moses goes before God on Mount Sinai after the Israelites commit the sin of the golden calf, and he utters the words “Har’eini na et k’vodecha,”“O, let me behold Your Glory, [God]!”Even there, at the heights of Sinai, Moses has the same basic longing and yearning for God that any of us might have.And God gives Moses a famous answer to his longing.God says, ‘Moses, I can make all my Goodness pass by you…”v’lo tuchal lir’ot et panai,” “[but] you cannot see my face, for man may not see my face and live. “See, saysGod, there is a place near me.Station yourself on the rock, and as I pass by, I will put you in a cleft in the rock and shield you w…