Friday, March 9, 2012

The Torah's Missing Parsha!

Parashas Ki Sisa: Shem and the Missing Parsha

Rabbi David Katz -

In this week’s Torah Portion Ki Sisa, which falls on the heels of the previous Parsha Tetzaveh, we find a very odd dynamic concerning Moses that we can directly relate back to Shem. In Tetzaveh we strangely find an omission of Moses’ name in the Parsha. This week, we seem to find the source of this omission, in that Moses declares to Hashem, “Forgive the Jewish People, or else remove me from your Book!” Interestingly enough, as was mentioned that in the last Parsha Moses’ name was indeed removed, Hashem apparently did in fact decide to remove Moses’ name.
Moses and his name is a topic that must be understood most literally, as we will explain how Moses is actually an incarnation of Shem (whose name literally means “Name”) and the connection between the two.
In this Parsha, the Jewish People have just made the infamous Golden Calf, causing a sin that motivated Moses to pour his heart out to God. By doing so, Hashem and Moses have the following dialogue: “ידעתיך בשם וגם מצאת חן בעיני. ועתה אם נא מצאתי חן בעיניך...” – “…I shall know you by Name, and you have also found favor in my eyes. And now, if I have found favor in your eyes…”
The Arizal (A rabbi who lived in Tzfat Israel around the year 1600), states that this exchange between Hashem and Moses, reveals that this term, “בשם” / “by Name” is actually coming literally to say that this is an audible account that Moses is an incarnation of Shem [ben {son of} Noach]. And the, “favor in my eyes quote (favor –חן)” is actually the letters of Noach (נח) rearranged, which the Arizal says that Moses is an incarnation of Noach as well.
( In the future Moses will reach the level termed “Nun [50] Shaarei Binah – The Gates of Understanding, where the letter Nun [נ] will be added to his name, where he will be become the Final Redeemer termed “Messiah son of Menashe [ Moses with a Nun –משה+ נ= מנשה]. Menashe thus stands for Moses, Shem, Able, and Noah in initial letters מ'נ'ש'ה.)
Thus at the time of the Golden Calf and Moses’ prayer, he was aware that he was an incarnation of Shem, yet it was a novelty that he was an incarnation of Noah as well, which is why the “Nun” is hidden from him at this time, until the incarnation is complete with full Understanding in the End of Days. The basis for this Incarnation – Redeemer relationship is as the Midrash says, “The First Redeemer is as the Last Redeemer”; The First Redeemer is of course Noach as Moses will be the Incarnated Last Redeemer. Moses sensed that he was missing this level of Understanding and thus said to Hashem: “Please, send who you will send!” Had Moses been aware of the extent of his soul, perhaps the Complete Redemption would have taken place, but what was known to Moses was his soul connection to Shem, especially since Moses’ name is essentially “Shem” with a “Heh.”
Now that Moses is praying to Hashem in harsh terms to receive forgiveness for the Golden Calf, perhaps there is an element within Moses of Shem that is particularly addressing Hashem. We can see that Hashem focuses on this aspect the strongest, “I have known you by Name!” And it is from this level that Moses suggests to be removed from the Book of Torah - or in clearer terms, this was our ancient echo of Shem – and his omission!
As we come to Shem and his connection to this passage of the Golden Calf, remember what we said at the beginning of this passage, that in the previous Torah Portion it was Moses’ name that was omitted from the Torah, thus Hashem did fulfill Moses’ “request.” But our famous inquiry still remains as strong as ever – where is our Torah Portion of Shem?
The Torah begins with Bereishit, moves along promptly to Noah, and then all of a sudden we find ourselves learning about Abraham in Lech Lecha. Therefore one can say we are to learn about Adam and the beginning of the World, building up to Noah and his salvation, until we are thrust into a brand new world of – Abraham? Where is Shem? His Priesthood? His Kingship? His offspring? His Life??
The Torah literally makes no mention of Shem, almost as if he does not exist. It is such an exclusion, one must refrain from ignorance (and to deny Greatness to Shem) and seek to answer the hidden claim against Hashem.
The Noahide represents a level that transcends traditional conversion to Judasim, one that the Torah demands as a pinnacle of service to Hashem: to Love Hashem your God. The Noahide is this level, as it was the first Sinai Noahide, Jethro, who converted out of this “Love of Hashem” (urging him to say, “Baruch Hashem”). However, one must not lose focus of a more basic yet fundamental level in serving God: Fear of God!
Moses and therefore Shem by this point of the Torah, must have reached a Love of God, and “they” are reminded of the power of fearing God. Moses may have been correct to speak harshly to Hashem, and maybe Hashem was testing him to see if Moses was really ready to give his life to God, and of course this would go back onto Shem as well, as this was his portion of soul directly involved, with the declaration to be removed from the Torah! Thus when it becomes audible, “Remove me from your Book,” we see Hashem meant it! Not only was Moses’ name removed from one entire Parsha, but Shem is removed from the Torah! By removing Shem from having a deserved Parsha in his name, it will serve as a constant reminder of the seriousness and fear of Hashem. This may seem trivial, but realize this: with Shem being removed from a Parsha status – he has been given an immense test over time. With scholars focusing on the revealed aspects of Torah, it has become a tremendous challenge for scholars over time to piece together the life of Shem. This is not so much of a punishment to Shem, rather a reality: Ask to be removed =removal. No bluff. No take backs. No do-overs. Only the Fear of God. This was the level of Shem. Not only did he Love God, but he was able to walk the line with God.
There is a principle in Torah, that the greatest darkness and can produce an even greater revelation. And from God’s strict Justice, we must seek to find the greatest kindness. Remember, Shem was a Priest to God Above (with connotations of Kindness). Thus once Shem is removed from the Torah, and the Fear that he may be lost, is motivation and desire to find the Torah of Shem, and when inevitably found, it will influence an even greater Love of God. Shem may have been “removed” as a test, but God forbid if he was lost. The only things removed from the Torah of Shem were the words, but Shem reaches a far greater existence –in Wisdom! When we search for the Wisdom of Shem and his Torah, it now has the power to resonate even greater and multi-dimensionally than words could contain. Thus his plight with Hashem within Moshe was his soul yearning to be free, much like the way he shed his body and waited at Mt. Sinai for 1300 years upon the Giving of the Torah.
This was a tremendous leap for Shem, for if there was no Torah upon the name of Shem, could he be lost forever? Shem was no stranger to this level of Faith, as he suppressed his own seed, so that he could find and teach a student and future generation like Abraham; Shem defined walking a fine line with God, thus Shem not only Loved God, but thrived off of his fearing of Him. It was from this level that Moses could speak harshly with Hashem, and potentially risk everything. What Moses forgot was the Love of God, as would have been represented by Noah! Noah was a perfectly righteous man who lived with his Love of God. Moses’ job in the Parsha was to find Harmony of both levels of service: Love and Fear of God.
Moses may have been removed from only one Parsha, yet it is Shem who was removed from the Book. In the end, Shem lost essentially nothing, as his Wisdom endures, his Love lives on, and his ways of the Noahide lives on in an extra Parsha in his merit: “Jethro!” In the end, Shem lost nothing, while risking it all; only his risk wasn’t really a risk, it was taking serious levels of Torah seriously, as we all should.
Shem teaches all of us an invaluable lesson: how to serve Hashem with a full heart: of Love and Fear of God with Wisdom, exactly the way the Torah demands of us. King Solomon himself brings down these three essential levels of service in his three books: Wisdom, Fear, and Love (Proverbs, Kohelet, Song of Songs).
The Jewish People sinned, and Moses wrestled with God. Moses may have won had he not tried to rub in his victory (as Moses comes from the Emanation level of Victory – Netzach). He forgot where he came from in his soul, the level of Noach, the level of Love. Shem rose to greatness only because of the Love of Noah for his son Shem. It was this relationship, of which the Arizal says Shem and Noah were one in a sense, where Shem received Love along with his Fear, of which cultivated a relationship to God with Wisdom.
Where Moses forgot about Love, and he seemed to be punished, remember whose voice was stretching forth: Shem, and all that he represents – a complete relationship with Hashem, one that defies logic. If you trust in Hashem, then even when you think you are forgotten from before God, remember Shem – of whom Hashem said to Moses, “I have known you by Name.” Shem served from his soul with Love and Fear, and he will never be forgotten; it is our job to do the same, and if it comes to a head with extinction as an option in judgment – remember that you too will be remembered, like Shem who opened the door of remembrance, to he who serves with a whole heart, as the Torah demands. We know the Torah is possible to achieve, just look at Shem and what he accomplished in the Torah; remember, he’s there.

5772- Are we there yet?


Anonymous said...

Reading this article makes one think of Micah 6:8... what is expected of Man... Thank you for the article... encouraging.

Moriah said...

Thank you so much. Thank you and Shabbat Shalom!

shimonmatisyahu said...

There is a similar Remez given for Moshe being an incarnation of Noah & Seth, and as also related to Parshat Tetzaveh. The last word of the previous Parsha - Parshat Terumah - is Nechoshet (copper), which is a composite of the names Noach (Noon-Cheit) & Sheit/Seth (Shin-Tav). The first word of Parshat Tetzaveh immediately following is V'Atah "And you (Moshe)".

Also, it should be noted that while there is no section in the Torah that is devoted to Shem with this name, he is mentioned in Parshat Lech Lecha with the name Malki-Tzedek which we are told is Shem ben Noach.

Anonymous said...

G-d bless you and yours. R Katz i am a noahide. can you please tell me what you meant by the words below:
'Shem was no stranger to this level of Faith, as he suppressed his own seed, so that he could find and teach a student and future generation like Abraham;

shem did have children and correct me if i am wrong, the jewish people come from him. i look forward to your explanation so i can understand better. blessings.theresa

duvid pesach said...

instead of focusing on his immediate first born, he knew that the world by the nature of truth, must produce an abraham figure. so he taught torah for 400 years waiting for abraham to show up, and he did. this is in accord to 2000 years of tohu, 2000 years of torah and 2000 years of moshiach. abraham ushered in torah.

Anonymous said...

thank you ,

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