27 April 2024

Torah portion: Ex. 33:12-34:26, Num. 28:19-25 Haftarah: Ezek. 37:19-25

Theme: The unfathomable mercy of God

What does the feast of Pesach signify to the people of the Lord? Sr. Dominique mentioned that “…it is to (commemorate the liberation of the Hebrews) out of Egypt. It is a capital event, founder of the people, because (God made his people Passover) from slavery to liberation” We can trace this back further to Ex 20:2 “I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery.” And it is celebrated during spring, due to the reason that according to her “it is the return of life after the death from slavery, a renewal which is operated by God himself, henceforth he will be the savior of his people.”

On the other hand, upon reading Exodus 34 one may come to stumble upon the repeating words in v6.: “The Lord, The Lord” and one may skip or dismiss it as usual, the curious may also ask questions over it, and or the pious may further contemplate on them. And out of curiosity, I am also asking why these sets of words are repeated twice.  And then upon searching Rushi’s commentary, he commented that: “This is the attribute of Divine mercy.” Then from here, one may recall all the daily experiences that he/she encounters throughout his life, especially the one that evokes humility, shame, and fear. one may remember that period wherein he pronounced those words in his/her mind, heart, and lips. Sometimes we utter them for selfish intentions, and sometimes for the common good. On the other hand, isn’t it odd enough to find it still inside us? and to involuntarily invoke them whenever we are on the verge of difficulty. And haven’t we found it intriguing why the word mercy exists? and why do we instinctively associate it with supplications? On this, Rashi offers us the necessary help by stating that the first phrase “alludes to God having mercy on the sinner before he sins and the other after he sinned and repented.” and directly followed by the next word though is missing in the English translation is (El) which according to Rashi is also an attribute of “Divine Mercy” and not as the usual name of God (Elohim) which according to him is “an attribute of stern justice.” And this may be the reason behind the position of the adjectives and description of G-d that follows till the end of v7. “The Lord, the Lord God, (El is) compassionate and merciful, slow to anger, and abounding in faithfulness and truth;who keeps faithfulness for thousands, who forgives wrongdoing, violation of His Law, and sin; yet He will by no means leave the guilty unpunished, inflicting the punishment of fathers on the children and on the grandchildren to the third and fourth generations.”

For Reflection and Discussion: am I able to notice the Divine Mercy of God with and in humility?

Bibliography: 1. The Catholic Study Bible 3rd ed. New American Bible Rev. Ed. (2016) Oxford University Press 2. Midrash Rabbah, Rabbi Dr. S.M. Lerman, M.A, PhD. (1951) London and Bournemouth Soncino Press 3. Le Judaisme, Dominique de la Maisonneuve (2017) Les editions de l’Atelier/Editions Ouvrieres, Ivry-sur-Seine.This week’s Parasha Commentary was prepared by
Jefferson Philip Jacob Reyes, France, Bat Kol Alumna/Alumnus: 2019


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