Ari Abramowitz discusses the Torah portion of Va’eira, specifically the first 2 verses. God spoke to Moses and said to him, “I am Hashem. I appeared to Abraham, to Isaac and to Jacob as El Shad-dai, but with my name Hashem I did not make myself known to them.” The Name El Shaddai, comes from the word, El, which is Elohim. The name Elohim can be defined as nature. And Shaddai being the expression of HaShem which creates and adheres to boundaries. From the word dai, which means enough. The Name El Shaddai conveys the force that created the boundaries and the distinctions that fill the world as we experience it. But the name Hashem, yud and hey and vav and hey is the name that Hashem is revealing to Moshe and by extension all of mankind during these portions of the
exodus from Egypt.
Each of the 10 plagues systematically disabused the Egyptians of their lies and their disillusions and their idols. Hashem revealed that not only is He completely in control of the entire natural world, but He changes and manipulates the very heart of Pharaoh. If we have the presence of mind to read all of this with a prayerful intention, that we not only understand it, but that we participate in this revelation and we’ll be able to really shatter the idols that we have in our own hearts.
Next Tehila Gimpel continues an idea that she started talking about last week, the conversation that Moshe has with Hashem where he’s saying, “I’m not good at talking.” And Hashem’s perplexing answer, Hashem is our Father and as a parent, wouldn’t your instinct be to make Moshe feel better? To say to Moshe, “you’re not so bad at talking” or just to fix his problem. For Hashem to say, to just take away Moshe’s problem. But Hashem’s answer is very surprising. He says, “Who do you think gives people their challenges and their impediments?” In this week’s portion Moshe’s concern about his speech impediment comes up 2 more times and each time Hashem has a different and surprising answer. These times when Moshe goes to Hashem with his insecurity, Hashem answers, although seeming perplexing at first, are a holistic guide for us on how to approach that kind of feeling in ourselves.
The vision of the end of days given to us by the prophets of Israel is what inspired the creation of this Fellowship. Isaiah says, “The Torah shall go forth from Zion and the Word of God from Jerusalem. Nations will stream into Jerusalem to learn the ways of Hashem.” The question that Jeremy Gimpel addresses is, “What is the heart of the Torah that is going out to Zion?” It’s not the Shulchan Aruch, not all the laws and the rituals and the details. There’s a Torah, there’s a law, there’s an essence, a spirit, a holistic life based on the Torah, and Jeremy wants to get to the heart of it. From there, people will find their own way with God. But the world has gotten so lost in religion, in doctrine, in rituals, that we’ve lost the heart of what we all want.