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Eighth Day Pesach

'Three times in the year, every one of your men shall be seen before the Lord, your God, in the place that He will choose: on the Festival of Matzot and on the Festival of Shavuot and on the Festival of Succot, and he shall not be seen before the Lord empty-handed' Deuteronomy 16:16

    The mountain-top of the binding of Isaac later became the location of the Temple; the mountain now obscured by giant retaining walls, which were filled in so as to render the Temple Mount a large flat surface. Abraham called it, “Hashem Yir’eh”, meaning, “God will be seen” (Genesis 22:14). But God isn’t seen on that mountain. 

    If anywhere, God was seen at Mount Sinai — where the glory of God appeared to the assembled masses of Israel (see especially Exodus 19:16-18). It was there that Moses saw “the back” of God. 

    Even then, God wasn’t really seen. The glory of God is not God himself. God’s back may be a metaphor for the fact that a person can only see the effects that God leaves in his wake, since, “no man can see Me and live” (Exodus 33:20). God is seen nowhere and to the extent that he was, it wasn’t on the Temple Mount.

    And yet: the reading of the eighth day of Passover harks back to Abraham. It commands us “to be seen” on the Temple Mount. God won’t be seen there. Rather, God will see us there.

    Thousands of years after the Exodus, and after two thousand years of exile, the descendants of Abraham continue to exist. They continue to have their distinctive customs. They continue to pass on their distinctive identity, most centrally, at the Seder night, which the vast majority of affiliating Jews continue to celebrate, irrespective of their general level of religious observance. 

    The survival of an identity through such trials and tribulations is unparallelled in human history. To see the Jewish people gathering in their holy places, on their holy days, against all odds, is really to see the hand of God. And thus Abraham was right. Where the Jewish people are seen to be Jewish, in their Temples, their synagogues and their homes, one will see the presence of the Lord.

Sidrah

Toldot

Rabbi Dr Samuel Lebens

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Toldot
Sidrah

Bereshit

Rabbi Dr Samuel Lebens

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Bereshit