February 22, 2020

Moses and God’s Tears – A Midrashic Poem for Parashat Vayikra

So often God called upon Moses –

Three times they met;

first at  the flaming bush,

then on Sinai amidst rock and stone,

and finally before the Tent of Meeting,

that Moses might intuit God’s mind

and soothe God’s broken heart

as a lover brings comfort to her beloved.

Since creation

God yearned to bridge the chasm

formed when the Creator pulled away

to open space for the universe.

Alone – exiled within the Divine Self

The holy Name, YHVH,

was divided from Itself as well

when the vessels holding the light shattered

and matter was flung to the far reaches of the universe –

the upper spheres were divorced from the lower,

male from female,

the primal Father from the Mother,

Tiferet from Malchut,

Hakadosh Baruch Hu from Sh’chinah,

Adonai from K’nesset Yisrael.

God yearned to restore what was once whole,

And not remain alone.

Before time and speech

and earth hurled into space

God appointed the soul of the Shepherd-Prince Moses as prophet

and endowed him with hearing-sight

and intuitive-wisdom

and integrated-knowledge.

No one but Moses

came so near to God

for all the rest of humankind

has inadequate vision and understanding.

Moses alone saw with his ears

and heard with his eyes

and tasted with his mind

to withstand the Light.

The prophet descended from Sinai aglow,

the primordial Light shielded through a veil

with divine ink-drops touched to his forehead

radiating everywhere

and illuminating the earth’s four corners.

Moses descended as if upon angel’s wings,

weightless cradling the stone tablets

in the eye of raging winds.

Despite his soaring soul,

the prophet was the aleph of Vayikra

most modest of all the letters

unheard, only seen,

to be known internally, intuitively,

as the most humble of anyone

ever to walk the earth.

Though Moses appeared as a Prince in Egypt

his destiny was to be a lonely shepherd

to gather his sheep and God’s people

to draw them by example

nearer to God.

There was so much God needed from Moses –

to bring the plagues

to overpower Pharaoh,

to liberate the people and lead them to Sinai,

to commune with God and pass along the Word,

to construct the Tabernacle and create a home for God

that Divinity might dwell within every Israelite heart

and thereby comfort God from loneliness.

After all God’s expectations and demands

we might expect Moses’ strength to be depleted,

that he would be exhausted to the bone

and ready to say;

“Enough! O Redeemer – find a new prophet!

I can no longer bear the burden

and be Your voice and create bridges!

You are Almighty God!

I am but flesh!

My strength is gone!

My time expired!”

“Nonsense!” proclaimed the YHVH.

“I am not yet ready for your retirement!

My world remains shattered,

My light obscured,

My heart still broken and aching?

I need you to teach My people

and instill in their hearts

a deep love that may heal My wound.

for I cannot do this for Myself.”

Alas, the Creator-Redeemer’s needs were clear –

to be close, so very close to Moses

that the prophet and Israel together

might wipe away God’s tears

and restore God’s heart

and heal God’s Name.