Thursday, January 12, 2012

A Parsha Perspective

By Rabbi Yisroel Shusterman, Dean, Cheder Chabad of Monsey 

This week’s Torah Parsha introduces us to Moshe, who is forced to flee Egypt and becomes a shepherd of the flocks of his father-in-law, Yisro. Then, at the burning bush, comes his first divine revelation. G-d calls upon this shepherd to go back to Egypt and redeem his people. The mission is nothing less than go the Pharaoh himself and deliver the L-rd's famous stirring message: Let My People Go! At one point in that dialogue, he asks the Almighty, "Who shall I say sent me? What is Your name?" Unlike the familiar names we know, the one G-d now gives Moshe is enigmatic and mystical "I shall be as I shall be." Strange name for a Supreme Being.

Many commentaries discuss this most unusual name. Here is one very powerful explanation. Unique to this name is that it is posed in the future tense. "I shall be as I shall be." Moshe was asking the ultimate existential question. "What is Your name," means how are You to be identified and understood? How can mortal man come to know the Infinite Being? G-d's answer is, "I shall be as I shall be" -- future tense. You want to know me, Moshe? I'm afraid you'll have to wait. We cannot understand G-d by what has happened in the past. Nor in the present. In the here and now, when we stare life and its ambiguities in the face, we experience tremendous difficulty in our attempts to grasp the Almighty's vast eternal plan. To truly understand the Infinite G-d takes infinite patience. One day, in the future, He will make Himself known to us. Only then will we come to really know Him and His inscrutable ways. "I shall be as I shall be."

Don't we all ask Moshe’s question at times? Why is there tragedy in the world? Why is there so much human pain, so much tzorris to contend with? How many individuals do we each know in our own communities who have experienced tragedy in their lives? Why, we cry, why? So we are told that right at the genesis of Jewish history, the very first time G-d spoke to Moshe He said to him up front, "I know you want to be able to understand Me and My ways; but please accept that it is impossible -- for now." I shall be as I shall be. One day, you will be able to know Me. Not today or tomorrow, but one day in the future everything will make sense and everything will be understood. In the meanwhile, we must live with faith, hope, and a great deal of patience as we see destiny unfolding.

We look forward with eager anticipation to that awesome day when the Almighty's great name will be known and understood, and we will realize that G-d is good and His ways are just. May it be speedily in our day.

 Have a meaningful and uplifting Shabbos!

(with excerpts from chabad.org – Rabbi Yossy Goldman)

The Twins From France Coming to Monsey

Werth Kiddush

Yehoshua and Nechama Werth invite you to a Kiddush in honor of the recent birth of their daughter Tiferes Basha this Shabbos, Parshas Shmos, following davening at Tzemach Tzedek.

Blotner Shalom Zachor

Rabbi Yehuda and Bluma Blotner will be making a Shalom Zachor for their newborn son tomorrow night at their home, 25 Dr. Frank Road.