Monday, January 18, 2010

G-d lied

In Parshat Sh'mot, Exodus chapter 4, verses 10-16, HaShem told Moshe/Moses, who considered himself a poor speaker, that his brother Aharon/Aaron would do the talking for him. And again, in Parshat Vaeira, Exodus chapter 7, verses 1 and 2, HaShem told Moshe that Aharon would speak to Par'oh/Pharaoh.

Here's a challenge for my readers: Can any of you find a single instance, in Parshiot Sh'mot, Vaeira, or Bo, from the time HaShem appointed Aharon as Moshe's spokesperson (Exodus chapter 4, verse 14 through Exodus chapter 10, verse 29) in which Aharon alone spoke to Par'oh?

In every instance in which I would have expected Aharon to do the talking and Moshe to perform an action, either both of them spoke or Moshe alone spoke, and Aharon performed the action, all at HaShem's command--to the best of my recollection, HaShem never once gave Moshe the option of letting Aharon speak in his place. This is exactly the opposite of what HaShem had led Moshe to believe would happen. Not until Vaeira, Exodus chapter 9 verse 8, did Moshe alone perform an action, and I can't find a single instance in which Aharon alone spoke to Par'oh.

In other words, HaShem conned Moshe.


Blogger Tevel said...

Funny, you don't strike me as a literalist! =D

Mon Jan 18, 07:15:00 PM 2010  
Blogger Shira Salamone said...

Another wiseguy heard from. :)

Mon Jan 18, 09:36:00 PM 2010  
Blogger Shira Salamone said...

I had a nice long phone call with Malka Esther today, one of those calls that I enjoyed so much that I had to be dragged away for dinner. Her comment, when I read her this post, was that HaShem knew that Moshe was capable of doing the job, but HaShem had to persuade Moshe to do it, so HaShem lied to him.

Mon Jan 18, 09:58:00 PM 2010  
Blogger Tevel said...

Sorry, didn't mean to be a kindehs. For my reading, I don't need the text to always contain all elements and all explanations, and so I'm ok with ambiguity. I think there's room in the text, I'm saying, for more than just, "HaShem lied." =D

Tue Jan 19, 10:45:00 AM 2010  
Blogger Shira Salamone said...

Actually, Tevel, you may have a point--I do tend to stick to p'shat, (what I consider) a literal interpretation. If it's not smack in front of my eyes, it doesn't exist, as far as I'm concerned. I'm not big on midrash, on reading things into the text that aren't actually in the text, though midrashim can be quite interesting. I guess I'm *not* "okay with ambiguity."

Tue Jan 19, 12:25:00 PM 2010  
Blogger Tevel said...

From my point of view, holding HaShem--eternal, omniscient, omnipotent, ubiquitous, in short HaKadosh, Baruch Hu--only to the actions recorded at each moment in the Torah is more than a little unfair. It's not HaShem that is limited; it's our understanding that is. =D

Tue Jan 19, 06:42:00 PM 2010  
Blogger Shira Salamone said...

Tevel, I tend to read the Torah text literally, on the one hand, but, on the other hand, as an agnostic, I'm not so sure that I can believe literally in G-d as a supernatural being, so some might say that my understanding is limited, in general. :)

Wed Jan 20, 08:31:00 AM 2010  
Blogger Tevel said...

Wow--an agnostic who goes out of her way to get to minyamim so often?

Wed Jan 20, 10:01:00 PM 2010  
Blogger Shira Salamone said...

I follow the teachings of my first rabbi in NYC, who said that one could reinterpret some prayers and think of others as quotations that we recite out of respect for our ancestors. I recite the prayers asking for the recitation of the Bet HaMikdash/Holy Temple and the sacrificial system as quotations. Others, I reinterpret in sometimes rather non-traditional ways. When I pray for the return of our judges, as at first, and our counselors, as at the beginning, I'm not praying for the restoration of the Sanhedrin, I'm expressing my hope that the secular judges and the dayanim/judges of Jewish religious courts in the United States, Israel, and elsewhere will be wise, intelligent, knowledgeable, and compassionate people with good old-fashioned common sense, so that all of us can be spared sorrow and sighing.

Rabbi Mordechai Kaplan's idea that Judaism is an evolving religious civilization was, and is, a good one. But, unfortunately, some Jews tend to emphasize the "civilization" part to the detriment of the "religious" part. It seems to me that many "cultural" Jews simply don't understand how much of Jewish culture is based on the Jewish religion. Take away the religion and the culture disappears. Just ask my old friend the Shalom Aleichem Shule graduate, raised as a Secular Yiddishist. He became so convinced that secular Yiddish culture would not survive beyond our generation that he sent his kids to a Jewish day school to ensure that they would learn Hebrew, not Yiddish, and would know how to davven/pray.

Better a person should go to synagogue to talk to HaShem, but if you'd rather go to shul to talk to Shaul, or Shula, that works, too, as long as the yakkers sit in the back and let the serious davveners pray in peace. :)

Thu Jan 21, 10:43:00 AM 2010  
Blogger Tevel said...

Thanks for clarifying, Shira! I don't want to take up your entire comments section with our conversation, so perhaps to be continued as time goes on. =D

Thu Jan 21, 10:53:00 PM 2010  

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