These and Those

Musings from Students of the Pardes Institute of Jewish Studies in Jerusalem


Posted on February 17, 2012 by Barer

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In a parsha full of laws, a mere few verses of which are the basis of years worth of Gemarah study (Seder Nezikin), I came across an episode having nothing to do with the minutiae of laws that I do not remember reading before.  Near the end of the parsha, there is a scene described where the leaders of the Israelites – Moshe, Aharon, his sons Nadav and Avihu, and the seventy elders – seemingly see Hashem’s feet (24:10).  This is odd not so much because of the anthropomorphism (such scenes litter the Torah), but because it has been remarked upon so sparingly (in my experience), especially when compared to the analogous scene involving only Moshe not ten chapters later (33:23).  Granted, given the image of a human that is being used metaphorically to refer to the being of God, that feet are of lesser value, or represent less of a revelatory moment, than seeing Hashem’s back.  However, since there are only a very few moments described in Jewish text where any human sees any ‘part’ of God, one would think this moment would deserve more notice.

Leaders see God’s feet

Before any Golden Calf

A strong beginning