“When Moses went into the Tent of the Meeting to speak with God, he would hear the voice addressing from above the cover that was on top of the Ark of Covenant between the two cherubim; thus God spoke to him” Numbers 7:89


Moses, we are told, had a very special relationship with God. The Eternal knew Moses “face to face” (Exodus 34:10). Somewhere it is said that the Eternal would “speak to Moses face to face, as one speaks to a friend” (Exodus. 33:11).

Their relationship was complex indeed and it is further highlighted in the verse above from this week’s sidrah, which, according to Rashi resolves another contradiction. In Leviticus 1:1, the French medieval commentator says, one reads “’The Eternal spoke to him from the Tent of the Meeting”, which implies outside the curtain, whereas another verse says, “and speak to you from the Ark cover”, which is in the interior, behind the curtain. Our verse comes to reconcile them: Moses came into the Tent of the Meeting and there he would hear the Voice coming from between the Cherubim, above the Ark cover.

On the one hand, their communication is easy. God and Moses talk a lot to each other. On the other hand, our verse suggests that, in order to converse with God, Moses can only stand on a very specific spot, where he can hear God’s voice emanating from between the cherubim. Rashi adds, “The voice emanated from heaven to the area between the two cherubim and from there it went out in the Tent of the Meeting.”

Listening to God’s voice is very difficult. There are so many sounds around, that prevent hearing this small voice. Therefore we need a sacred space, whether physical or symbolic, to stand at the right place, that is at our own centre, to be able to hear it.

Life in lockdown has reduced the many background noises, opening a space for God’s voice in our life. Instead of listening to our anxieties, or in order to try to ease them, creating a sacred space where the word can be heard opens the possibility of comfort and resilience.


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