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D'var Torah: A Fresh Start

'And Moses (Moses) came and Aaron (Aaron) to the Ohel Mo'aid (Tent of Meeting).

'And they went out and blessed the people and the honour of God appeared to the people.'Shemot/Exodus 9:23)

This verse takes place after Aaron has performed his korbanot (offerings) at the dedication of the Mishkan (portable desert synagogue).

Why did Moses and Aaron enter the Tent and then seem to leave immediately?

Rashi, the premier Torah commentator, offers several answers. For one of them, he suggests Aaron was concerned that despite his offerings, the Shechina, (Divine Presence), had not yet appeared. Moses noticed Aaron's concern and so immediately brought Aaron with him into the Ohel Mo'aid (this was a place where God had ongoing communication with Moses). They prayed and then the Shechina descended.

Then, Moses and Aaron left the Ohel Mo'aid and blessed the people to whom the Shechina was now apparent. The people were relieved that Aaron’s offerings had been accepted, especially the eigel (calf) as recompense for the sin of the eigel hazahav (the golden calf).

Rabbi Meir Simcha Cohen of Dvinsk, one of the great figures of the 20th century Rabbinate, develops this theme in his work 'Meshech Chochma'. He writes that Moses' conduct shows that he shared Aaron's concerns at the lack of response to the offerings and also appreciation of the ramifications of the eigel hazahav.

For example, before the eigel hazhav, the people had seen the presence of God at Har Sinai (Mount Sinai) in the form of fire. After the eigel hazahav, the people could not even look at the face of Moses (which was covered with a mask) let alone see the presence of God in the form of fire.

The invitation of Aaron (the main character in the story of the Eigel Hazahav) to enter the Ohel Mo'aid, the place where Moses was able to remove his mask, showed that the eigel hazahav had been forgiven since Aaron could now see Moses' face without the mask, as he had done before the eigel hazahav.

Perhaps we can suggest that the 'honour' of God appearing to the people also showed that the eigel hazahav had been forgiven. Thus, the people were relieved and Moses and Aaron could bless them. Then, as the next pasuk (verse) after the one quoted at the top, explains, the people rejoiced.

 

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