The older I become the more I think about the meaning of life. Not an original thought, I know.
How do we treat life in the course of it? I know I am guilty of mistreating it. Long ago time meant forever, every day was long, many of those to be forgotten or remembered in pain. So many times in my life I was questioning the purpose of life itself, at least my own. So many times I wondered why I was put on this earth. Was it only to suffer, to be in pain? And then, after so much work, and so many positive things that thank Gd happened in my life, I learned to love it. On its better days and worse days. I remembered how fragile life itself was, and how gentle our connection with it should be. Life can just slip away, and like that early morning breeze it can flow over the sea or a mountain leaving you only a sweet smell of love to cherish for the rest of your days.
And then ….. there is a new life! Life that is going to be infused with the spirit of life gone long ago. Life that will inhale the love surrounding it, life that will grow stronger, and wiser with every day.
This week, in Parshat Ki Tisa – כִּ֣י תִשָּׂ֞א we see this second life being possibly even more prescious than the original one. The connection is not apparent, but let’s try to imagine:
Moses goes to receive The Law from Gd, but the people down at the mountain miscalculate the time and infamously make the ‘substitute god’
וַיַּ֣רְא הָעָ֔ם כִּֽי־בֹשֵׁ֥שׁ מֹשֶׁ֖ה לָרֶ֣דֶת מִן־הָהָ֑ר וַיִּקָּהֵ֨ל הָעָ֜ם עַֽל־אַהֲרֹ֗ן וַיֹּאמְר֤וּ אֵלָיו֙
ק֣וּם ׀ עֲשֵׂה־לָ֣נוּ אֱלֹהִ֗ים אֲשֶׁ֤ר יֵֽלְכוּ֙ לְפָנֵ֔ינוּ כִּי־זֶ֣ה ׀ מֹשֶׁ֣ה הָאִ֗ישׁ אֲשֶׁ֤ר הֶֽעֱלָ֙נוּ֙ מֵאֶ֣רֶץ מִצְרַ֔יִם לֹ֥א יָדַ֖עְנוּ מֶה־הָ֥יָה לֽוֹ׃
When the people saw that Moses was so long in coming down from the mountain, the people gathered against Aaron and said to him, “Come, make us a god who shall go before us, for that fellow Moses—the man who brought us from the land of Egypt—we do not know what has happened to him.”
Both Gd and Moses get very angry. Angry to the point at which the total destruction seems imminent. After many pleadings from Moses, the nation is spared, and a new round of Moses-Gd time follows. This time though, the tablets of Law are to be carved by Moses himself. Not an easy task, I presume to cut stone even if we think that it was sapphire. This second time though, somehow made Moses even closer to Gd, whether because of his work involved, or the fact that he had ‘seen’ the Glory, or because he was now holding the ‘weight of the nation’ on his shoulders having promised, essentially, that they would do what they were told to. When Moses comes down to face the people again, his face is ‘radiant’. So much so that people are afraid to come close as the Glory of Gd is shining through Moses’ very skin.
וַיְהִ֗י בְּרֶ֤דֶת מֹשֶׁה֙ מֵהַ֣ר סִינַ֔י וּשְׁנֵ֨י לֻחֹ֤ת הָֽעֵדֻת֙ בְּיַד־מֹשֶׁ֔ה בְּרִדְתּ֖וֹ מִן־הָהָ֑ר וּמֹשֶׁ֣ה לֹֽא־יָדַ֗ע כִּ֥י קָרַ֛ן ע֥וֹר פָּנָ֖יו בְּדַבְּר֥וֹ אִתּֽוֹ׃
So Moses came down from Mount Sinai. And as Moses came down from the mountain bearing the two tablets of the Pact, Moses was not aware that the skin of his face was radiant, since he had spoken with God.
A new life was born at that moment. A new Moses, a new nation. Destined for a better life in the best of places, Eretz Yisrael. Everyone together as part of one whole.
In my own life a new life was born yesterday. A new beginning, a new hope that bears within it all the hopes and dreams of his ancestors. A new way to keep the Glory of Gd inside. May this new life of my first grandson bring joy to his immediate family and to all his nation – כלל ישראל. May the souls of his grandfathers within him carry him on the wings of love protecting from any harm.