Shabbat Table Talk

Parashat Chol HaMo’ed Pesach –  Erev Shabbat 06 April, 2018

Week of 01-07 April 2018

Torah Portion: Exodus 33:12-34:26        Haftarah: Ezekiel 37:1-14

Theme: A Risky Relationship?




Today, more than ever, people thirst and hunger for genuine relationship, yet this desire is eradicated by social media that pretends to transcend boundaries. The irony of this scheme of things is that, people want a relationship, yet are afraid to take the risk; they want companionship, yet do not want to show their soul. They want temp-permanence, and not commitment. If things do not work-out the ideal way they want, off they end the bond. They are afraid to interweave with another person because they might lose themselves. Perhaps, just perhaps, all these fears boil down to one thing, – we are a stranger to our very self, because we are afraid or not ready to see our self. Now, you might ask what does all this have to do with Chol HaMo’ed Pesach? There are words that we overlook the interrelatedness of some minute terms in today’s reading, on which I would like to focus: yada – intimate friend/know, nuach – rest, sakak – cover, ruach: breath/spirit, and chayah: live.


In 33.12, Moshe said to the L-rd, “…You have said: You are my yada, intimate friend; you have found favor with me.”* What entails for a relationship to be intimate? This can be answered in various ways. For one, intimacy is not just among couples or lovers, it can be among friends, just like with the L-rd and Moshe, as the latter labeled it. Intimacy entails openness, braving vulnerability. This happens not instantaneously, but it builds through time and trust. When each show care for one another, if they cover or protect each other’s welfare and are willing to be interwoven without controlling or removing each one from their very self, but in the process become whole, then intimacy is built. One takes the risk of being intimate with another when he/she can find/sense rest in each other’s presence. This rest, is assured by the L-rd to Moshe when he said to him, “I myself will go along, to give you rest.”* (33.14)


At times it’s a trial and error to find someone with whom we can truly sense “home”, we can have rest. Surely, in the readings of today, the L-rd assured rest to all of us who seek it, and not only rest is promised, but companionship. You may say that this reflection tends to spiritualize or romanticize G-d. You may see it that way, but the bottom line is this, who else remains faithful to us in spite of the numerous times we have been “adulterous” in our relationship with this gracious Divine? Why do we seek other homes or a place of rest, when one is assured before us? Perhaps, because we want to be in control of things, including results we are not completely sure of. We want to trust those we see and hold, yet often, they fail and leave us. Who else is our stronghold, through thick and thin, who saw and sees our worst, yet decided to love us through and through? Let us go home, rest and live fully with the One who knows nothing else but to remain with us, with you.  


Reflection and Discussion: 1. Am I at home with myself? 2. What is it in my life that I still cover because of my fear on intimacy? 3. Do I keep a healthy boundary in my relationship?


Bibliography: *The Catholic Study Bible: New American Bible Revised Edition, eds. Donald Senior, John Collins, Mary Ann Getty. 3rd ed. NY, USA: Oxford University Press, 2016.



This week’s Commentary was prepared by

Kristine Meneses, Ph.D., Philippines,  Bat Kol Alumna 2016

Email address:

[Copyright © 2018]



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