Learned from the Pro – Parashat Ki Tisa

February 28, 2018 at 1:07 AM , , ,

“…And now, if You forgive their sin… —But if not, erase me now from Your book, which You have written…’ – Shemot 32:32

וְעַתָּה אִם תִּשָּׂא חַטָּאתָם וְאִם אַיִן מְחֵנִי נָא מִסִּפְרְךָ אֲשֶׁר כָּתָבְתָּ – שמות לב, לב

“The Shechinah (Divine Presence) spoke through Moshe’s throat,” say our Sages (see Zohar vol. 3, p. 232a). This means that Moshe’s identity was totally surrendered to G-dliness, such that the very words he uttered were Divine speech. Thus, when Moshe suggested that he be erased from the Torah if G-d would not forgive the Jewish people, he was threatening to renounce much more than just his personal legacy. For considering that Moshe’s identity was wholly bound to and incorporated within the Shechina, his “name” and association with the Torah was, in fact, the Shechinah’s association with the Torah! Yet, Moshe boldly suggested that his name be erased from the Torah, for he knew that even such extreme measures were acceptable when necessary to save the Jewish people.

Moshe learned this from the process by which we examine a Sotah, a woman accused of immoral behavior, who is prohibited to her husband until her innocence is proven.  In order to restore their marriage, the Torah provides a process in which a portion of the Torah containing several mentions of G-d’s name is erased into water for the Sotah to drink. This water will affect her negatively only if she is indeed guilty. If it has no adverse effects on her, she is considered innocent and her marriage is restored. Of this process, says the Talmud (Shabbos 116a), “G-d says: Let My Name, written in sanctity, be blotted out  to make peace between a man and his wife!”


Therefore, despite everything that Moshe’s name represented, he took the liberty to demand that his name be erased from the Torah if the Jewish people would not be forgiven. Taking an example from G-d’s “willingness” for His name to be erased to restore the relationship of a husband and wife, Moshe reasoned that the same was certainly justified in order to restore the precious bond between G-d and the Jewish people.

—Sefer Hasichos 5749, vol. 1, p. 290, fn. 68


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