Knowing God

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  1. The Appointment of Moshe (Audio)

    Rabbi Chanoch Waxman | 21 minutes

    God’s mission and Moshe’s response from the Burning Bush appear to be briefly repeated in Parashat Va'era. The “second” mission responds to the problematic outcome of the first mission, but why are two parts necessary for the redemption? A textual comparison of the two missions reveals two distinct aspects of God’s redemption of the Israelites: compassionate empathy, and fulfilling the Covenant of the Forefathers (Brit Avot).

  2. Knowing the Name of God

    Rabbi Yehuda Rock

    The opening verse of our parasha is opaque and difficult to understand. The commentators have trouble with the factual assertion that "My Name Y-H-V-H I did not make known to them." A cursory review of Sefer Bereishit shows this not to be true: Avraham is told, "I am Y-H-V-H Who took you out of Ur Kasdim" (Bereishit 15:7), and Yaakov is told, "I am Y-H-V-H, the God of Avraham your father"

    Unquestionably, though, the simple meaning of the verse is that God did not reveal the Name Y-H-V-H to the forefathers. As noted above, this clearly contradicts the verses in Sefer Bereishit that tell us that God explicitly told the forefathers, "I am Y-H-V-H."

     This article will shed some light on the verse, both locally and in its broader context.

  3. Yitro and Amalek

    Dr. Yael Ziegler | 33 minutes

    When does Yitro arrive? When does the meeting with Moshe take place? What was it that he heard that motivated him to see Moshe? And where does this meeting fit in chronologically- before or after Ma’amad Har Sinai? Why is it recorded here? There are astoundingly strong linguistic parallels between the Yitro and the Amalek story that precedes it. We look at these mirror image parallels, as well as the story of Yael and Sisra to see that the nearby nations are not monolithic when it comes to choices about the knowledge of God and the attitude toward Bnei Yisrael.

  4. Moshe Confronts Korah: Pragmatic Humility and Covenantal Attitudes

    Rabbi Jonathan Snowbell | 18 minutes

    This week, we examine the challenge of Korah.  Though (in Parashat Behaalotekha) Moshe himself expressed a positive view about the entire nation being on a plane in which they could receive prophecy, he is able to see through Korach's claim of the entire nation being holy, without a need for Moshe. Moshe, though humble, sees Korach's ulterior motives - he wants a chunk of the leadership status for himself. 

    We turn to the book of Yirmiahu for an insight into the renewal of the covenant in future times: though God established the covenant with Israel when they came out of Egypt, at that time they were like children in their relationship with God, as he "led them by the hand" out of Egypt. In future times, they will not need constant, overt, reassurances that God is present - they will all "know God" in their more adult phase of the relationship with God.

  5. Ki Tavo and the Message of Ani Hashem

    Rabbi David Silverberg

  6. Mishlei - Part 12: Concluding the First Book of Mishlei

    Rabbi Shlomo Dov Rosen | 45 minutes

    In our final shiur on the first Book of Mishlei, we will notice that the last two poems serve as a summary of the basic ideas that we have studied: the relationship between the fear of God and wisdom, natural wisdom and what it means to be pushed away from developing the potential for wisdom, approaching God through wisdom, and the possibility and pitfalls of being led astray.

    We will look at the last five verses of the eighth chapter which constitute the penultimate poem, and then we will move on to the ninth chapter – the last chapter of the first part of Mishlei. Why does the text say that one who hates wisdom loves death? Why cannot it not say that one who loves wisdom loves life? Natural wisdom is necessary to develop one’s potential goodness, but it is wrong to equate it with goodness in and of itself. Wisdom along with spirituality, morality and ethics will make life better and can lead to the potential for closeness with God.

  7. Revealing the Tetragrammaton: The Problem of a New Divine Name

    Rabbi Chanoch Waxman

    תאריך פרסום: 2023 | | Hour and 5 minutes

    The lecture begins in discussing the sixth chapter of Sefer Shemot and explores the revelation of God's proper name to Moshe throughout the sefer. The shiur attempts to demonstrate how current literary methodology can contribute to the resolution of the problem of a new Divine Name. In addition, the shiur attempts to provide insight into the meaning of "knowing God" and to generate a coherent reading of the first six chapters of Shemot.