Nameless – Parashat Tetzaveh

February 18, 2018 at 3:19 AM , , ,

“…And you shall command Bnei Yisrael…” – Shemot 27:20

וְאַתָּה תְּצַוֶּה אֶת בְּנֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל – שמות כז, כ

From the account of Moshe’s birth in the beginning of the Book of Shemos until his monologue in the Book of Devarim, Moshe is mentioned by name in every weekly Torah portion with the exception of Parshas Tetzaveh. The notable absence of Moshe’s name is explained as a hint to this reading’s timing in close proximity to the 7th of Adar, the date of Moshe’s passing.

But why is Moshe’s passing hinted by not mentioning his name? Is not the name and legacy of a righteous person remembered even after his physical demise?

In addition, it seems that Moshe is more present in this Parsha than in others. In many instances where Moshe is mentioned by name it is in the third person, as though Moshe himself is absent. In Tetzaveh, conversely, Moshe is repeatedly addressed by G-d in the second person, beginning with the uncharacteristically direct reference to Moshe in the parsha’s opening, “You shall command,” emphasizing that he is indeed present!


The explanation for this lies in the Zohar’s teaching that a tzadik who has passed is, in fact, “present in all the worlds even more so than during his lifetime.” As explained in Tanya (Iggeres Hakodesh 27), the tzadik’s physical passing reflects his soul’s ascent within itself to its ethereal essence, such that it entirely transcends visible manifestation in this physical world. In its heightened condition, however, the tzadik’s soul is fully accessible for all who wish to draw spiritual life and inspiration from it, even more so than in his physical lifetime. No longer confined to a physical body, the Tzadik’s influence is far greater than when he was limited to what he expressed in words and thoughts.

Accordingly, we can understand why Moshe’s passing is hinted by not mentioning his name in Tetzaveh, all the while referring to him directly in the second person. For one’s name is not their very identity; it is merely the means by which they can be identified to others. Thus, on the 7th of Adar, Moshe’s soul ascended from its external level by which it was known to others, i.e. his name, and his nameless essence – “you” – became present in the world to an even greater degree than it was ever before.

—Likkutei Sichos vol. 26, pp. 204-206


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