Parshat Ki Tisa: Bound to Our Creator

18 02 2011

Based on a shiur on Chassidut by Rabbi Hershel Reichman

Parshat Ki Tisa

Parshat Ki Tisa tells the pivotal sin of cheit ha’eigel (the sin of the golden calf), the subsequent breaking of the luchot, and Moshe’s prayer for forgiveness. In his exchange with Hashem, Moshe asks, “Let me see Your glory.” Hashem responds, “You will see My back, but My face you shall not see.” What was the back of Hashem that Moshe was privileged to see? Rashi explains that it was the knot of Hashem’s tefilin.

The Shem Mishmuel explores this puzzling passage. He notes that tefilin refer to thinking. Hashem’s tefilin are an allegory for His thoughts. According to halacha, when a man wears tefilin he must focus entirely on holiness and on the messages contained within the tefilin. Moshe had an incredibly close relationship with Hashem, more than any other human. Therefore, he had a connection to tefilin, which means connection to Hashem in thought.

Our tefilin speak about ahavat Hashem, His oneness, the Torah, and yetziat mitzrayim. They are about Hashem’s greatness and how it impacts upon us. Hashem’s tefilin are a mirror image of our own. They focus on the uniqueness and loftiness of Klal Yisrael, and Hashem’s love and loyalty to us. He created an unbreakable bond between Himself and the Jewish people. This is the knot of tefilin that Hashem showed Moshe.

The knot of tefilin hints that we are bound and knotted to Hashem in an eternal relationship. Hashem is with us in every situation we find ourselves in. Hashem describes himself as “hashochen itam b’toch tumotam, who dwells among the Jews even though they are defiled.” Just as a parent will never abandon his child, Hashem will always remain loyal to us, no matter how far we have strayed. True love is a balance between chesed and din. Sometimes Hashem sends us retribution, as a father who must punish his son. Still he remains our loving father. This is the indestructible knot of Hashem’s tefilin. The Jewish people accepted the Torah unquestioningly, proclaiming the words “Naaseh V’neshma.”  We are absolutely committed to our Creator. In return, we know Hashem will remain eternally loyal to us.

Why was Moshe the first to understand this irrevocable connection? When he descended with the luchot and saw that the Jews had sinned with the egel, he broke the tablets. His reasoned that if the Jewish nation were destined to be decimated, he wanted to die with them. Because of his incredible loyalty and self-sacrifice for his people, Hashem revealed to him the secret of the kesher shel tefilin. This message of faith has kept us alive as a nation throughout our long exile. This ray of hope will bring us to the final redemption.




One response

5 11 2013

This is a topic that’s close to my heart… Take care!

Where are your contact details though?

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