Kenneth Cohen

Moshe’s Dialogue With G-d

The Torah gives a lengthy description of the dialogue between Hashem and Moshe Rabbeinu, following the sin of the Golden Calf.

The efforts of Moshe were rewarded to such an extent that he was permitted to ask Hashem about His essence. He not only achieved atonement for the Jewish people for their sin, but he was also taught the Thirteen Attributes of Hashem, that were a means towards achieving mercy from Above, rather than strict justice.

If that wasn’t enough, we learn that Moshe also asked G-d about what would become an age old philosophical question. He wanted to know about צדיק ורע לו רשע וטוב לו. This means that it appears that the righteous suffer, while the wicked prosper.

It was explained to Moshe that the real reward for the righteous is in the World to Come. This refers to eternal pleasure, in line with all of the individual’s efforts to do good, during his lifetime.

Moshe was reminded that at the end of the day, when all is said and done, there will be perfect justice for each individual. We only need to be reminded that G-d’s ways are not understood by man. This justice will come according to Hashem’s terms, not man’s.

Moshe learned a great deal in his quest to achieve atonement for his people. These lessons need to be learned by each and every Jew.

About the Author
Rabbi Cohen has been a Torah instructor at Machon Meir, Jerusalem, for over twenty years while also teaching a Talmud class in the Shtieblach of Old Katamon. Before coming to Israel, he was the founding rabbi of Young Israel of Century City, Los Angeles. He recently published a series of Hebrew language-learning apps, which are available at