What’s Inside?

May 24th, 2011 by Rabbi Simcha Weinberg in Portion of the Week
In Honor of Rabbi Moshe Stepansky and his comment to “The Futurist“: The Tanchumah (Bamidbar 2) teaches: This can be compared to a ruler who entered a province, and when its citizens saw him they fled. He entered a second province and the citizens ran away. He then went into a remote town, and when the citizens saw him, they began praising him. The ruler said, “This is the best city in the province. I will build my house here and I will live here too.” So too, when the Holy One, Blessed is He, came to the sea, it ran away from Him, as it is stated, “The sea saw and fled.” (Psalms 114:3) He appeared on Mount Sinai and they fled, as it is stated, “The mountains skipped like rams.” (Verse 4) He came to a remote wilderness, they, Yisrael, received Him and praised Him, as it is stated, “The wilderness and its cities will raise their voices in song.” (Isaiah 42:11) The Holy One, Blessed is He, descended into it, as it is stated, “The wilderness and the wasteland will rejoice over them, the wilderness will be glad and blossom like a lily.” (Isaiah 35:1)

This is an astounding Midrash, however we will attempt to explain it: Behold, all the miracles that God performed were in order that all should recognize and know that He is the Creator of all, and guides all that exists in both the upper and lower worlds, to do with them according to His Will. God implanted this belief in their hearts, and this, was the purpose of all the miracles.

This awareness was not temporary, for, although it did not actively function in them after time, it exists in their hearts as a “Zechair,” a living memory, as the verse says, “He made a memorial for His wonders.” (Psalms 11:4)

However, the Torah that God gave us, can be used to conceive His Divinity and Unity, and how He exercises Providence over all that exists.

This is the explanation of the verse, “The Tablets were God’s handiwork, and the writing was the writing of God.” (Exodus 32:16) God is “written into the Torah,” so to speak, and a person is able to conceive God’s actions through toil in Torah.

This is the meaning of the Midrash when it says that the sea fled, or “Barach,” which can also mean to expand into the future. The effect of the miracle expanded far into the future. The desert in the Midrash, refers to Torah (See the Zohar) The Holy One, Blessed is He, said, “Here I will build My home,” meaning that God lives within the Torah, and through Torah a person can find Him and His actions.

This is at any time and any moment. All the miracles live in the Torah, and a person can conceive the workings of all the miracles by studying Torah as if he actually experienced the miracles. This is why the Torah is described by the Midrash as the Home of God. “G-d’s essence hovers in the Torah and it is within the Torah that Man can try to understand how G-d operates. And that is what is meant as ‘G-d’s dwelling place’.” (Kol Simcha, Bamidbar)

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