Torah.org Home Subscribe Services Support Us
 
Print Version

Email this article to a friend

Eight Chapters

Chapter Seven (Part 6)

Being the greatest prophet of all and arguably the greatest human being ever to have lived, we'd expect a lot from Moses. Indeed, Rambam described Moses elsewhere as the most perfect of people, and credited him with having actually comprehended the truth -- which was certainly no small feat; as being the father of wisdom, prophecy, and of Torah; as being G-d's chosen one from among humanity; and as having reached the spiritual level of the angels.

In point of fact, Moses expected a lot from himself, and with good reason. After all, as Rambam put it here in our text, Moses "realized that there wasn't a single screen he hadn't rent", that is, that not a single barrier between himself and G-d remained, and "that he'd achieved personal and intellectual perfection". So he took a chance; he asked to comprehend G-d. But despite his high station, Moses was denied that, as we'll see.

Let's backtrack a bit though and detail just what set Moses' prophecy apart from the others' as we said we would.

We're taught that Moses' prophetic process was qualitatively different than others'. Where the other prophets were contacted either in a dream or while in a trance, Moses prophesied in a waking, conscious state. While the other prophets would grow terribly weak when they prophesied, would shiver and become frightened by the encounter, Moses never did. Whereas the others couldn't prophesy at will, and would often have to wait for days or even years for a prophecy -- or might not ever prophesy again -- Moses could prophesy at will. Where the others were contacted by angels or had symbolic visions, Moses experienced clear and literal communications from G-d Himself instead. And whereas the others had to prepare themselves for prophecy, Moses was always attached to G-d and thus never had to prepare himself.

Moses was clearly of a whole other order of prophet -- and of being. So he made the unusual request we spoke of above.

He said to G-d, "Please show me Your Glory" (Exodus 33:18) -- allow me insight into Your very Being, L-rd, as no one else had ever been allowed. After all, hadn't he done all he could to deserve that, and wasn't that the loftiest of goals? But G-d denied him his request (in fact, who among us could ever imagine making such a request, let alone expecting it to be granted?).

Why was he denied it? Because it couldn't be otherwise. After all, "he was an intellect fixed in matter", or as Rambam explained, because "he was human" at bottom and it was written that "No man will see (G-d) and (yet) live" (Exodus 33:20).The point is that "the only thing still standing between Moses and the comprehension of G-d was a single sheer screen"-- the fact that he was a mortal and thus imperfect.

Thus the lesson for all of us who hope for spiritual excellence is that, indeed, none of us is perfect and that what sets us apart from each other is our character.


Text Copyright 2007 by Rabbi Yaakov Feldman and Torah.org


 






ARTICLES ON DEVARIM AND THE THREE WEEKS:

View Complete List

What Causes One to be Appreciative?
Rabbi Yosef Kalatsky - 5763

Self-Fulfilling Prophecy
Rabbi Yochanan Zweig - 5773

Golden Opportunities
Rabbi Naftali Reich - 5773

Looking for a Chavrusah?

Payment in Full
Rabbi Naftali Reich - 5769

Rebuking 101
Shlomo Katz - 5765

The Pathway to Consolation and Redemption
Rabbi Berel Wein - 5767

> Shabbos Hosting
Rabbi Yisroel Ciner - 5758

Flight to Freedom
Rabbi Pinchas Avruch - 5763

Fear Itself
Rabbi Mordechai Kamenetzky - 5758

Frumster - Orthodox Jewish Dating

Look Deeper
Shlomo Katz - 5766

Personal Judge
Rabbi Yaakov Menken - 5762

The Laws of Kashrus: Is it techinical or something deeper?
Rabbi Pinchas Winston - 5773

ArtScroll

Petty Squabble to Baseless Hatred
Rabbi Yaakov Menken - 5758

Mourning on the 9th of Av: The Reasons
Rabbi Yehudah Prero - 5757

Unquestioned Answers
Rabbi Mordechai Kamenetzky - 5761

The World Within
Rabbi Pinchas Winston - 5769



Project Genesis

Torah.org Home


Torah Portion

Jewish Law

Ethics

Texts

Learn the Basics

Seasons

Features

TORAHAUDIO

Ask The Rabbi

Knowledge Base




Help

About Us

Contact Us



Free Book on Geulah!




Torah.org Home
Torah.org HomeCapalon.com Copyright Information