Did you ever taste bliss? Did it ever shatter right before your eyes?

Welcome to our parsha.

After receiving and then breaking the tablets of our covenant, and after carrying out G-d’s message of the killing of three thousand amongst the Camp of Israel who participated in the sin of the golden calf, Moshe Rabbeinu’s timing couldn’t be more surprising. It is exactly after this episode that he has a very strange request from G-d. ‘Har’eini Na Et Kvodecha’, Please G-d, Show Me Your Honor’. Don’t you think Moshe could have chosen a better time to ask this question? This comes at one of the lowest points in our history. But after taking a deeper look, Moshe’s request could not have come one second earlier.

The Rebbe of Slonim explains that Moshe’s question is what our souls are really asking of G-d. Moshe Rabbeinu couldn’t understand what kind of G-dly glory and honor could have possibly come out from the whole incident of the golden calf. After the transformation we experienced at Mount Sinai, where heaven and earth began to harmonize like never before, and all were able to see that G-d is so ONE – to immediately fall so low with the calf and bring out G-d’s wrath in the manner which it did. What type of heavenly honor came out from all of this?

We have come back to the Holy Land right after we were placed in ovens. We have witnessed the greatest miracles of our time. Since our coming home to Jerusalem, G-d’s name has been sanctified and become so great in the world. And yet, since this past holiday of Succot, we have found ourselves running from shiva house to shiva house. Pain and fear has unfortunately known no limits. We are aware of the fact that we are living in miraculous times, but each time terror strikes the luchot are once again shattering,  There is such a tension between two powerful and somewhat contradicting emotions: the love we felt (and continue to feel) from above while returning home vs. the questions which surface while we pay the price and fight to maintain our home. What does one do with this

In one of his most epic teachings, Rebbe Nachman of Breslov teaches that our greatest moments in life are defined by the questions we choose to ask. Moshe Rabbeinu didn’t necessarily need to hear an answer from G-d. Perhaps all G-d ever wanted was for man to ask this question. ‘G-d, what do YOU get from all of this?’ It could very well be that this is what G-d was waiting to hear since creating man. However, more importantly, it was Moshe’s ability to have such a desire which truly enabled him to continue leading a very holy and stubborn nation.

After every tear that is shed, after every heart that breaks and after every ounce of blood which has been spilled – there is only one thing to ask. Master of the World, I might be able to accept that which you place before me, but more importantly, there is one thing I ask of you. Show me how your name has become greater from all of this.

That’s all my soul needs to see.

Har’eni Na Et Kvodecha

Shabbat Shalom Umevorach

Shlomo Katz