Ki Tissah

An old tension: people want tangible holiness. The result is sometimes called ‘sin’, yet the same desire inspires truly spiritual acts. The people in the desert can’t bear to have God hidden in the clouds, and build a golden calf, a god that can be touched. To grasp holiness is to limit the infinite. The alternative is to mark its absence: holy names are never spoken, holy spaces are concealed, holy time is restricted. Moses also tries to come closer to God and is rejected, yet a compromise is reached. “There is a… crack in the rock. As My glory passes by, I will cover you with My hand.” In such cracks, perhaps, we can feel what can’t be touched.

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[Inspired by: Exodus 33; Rambam’s Guide to the Perplexed I:54; and Orphée et Eurydice by Auguste Rodin.]

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