Beit Midrash

  • Torah Portion and Tanach
  • Shmot
To dedicate this lesson

God - let me know who you are!


Rabbi Zalman Baruch Melamed

Tevet 18 5780
In our weekly portion, God sends Moses to free the Jews from Egypt. Afterwards, Moses asks God how to answer the people of Israel when they ask him who sent him. The obvious question is: "What is he asking?!" The answer is clear: "God has sent me!"

We have to look deeper and realize that the question 'Who sent you?' doesn't mean "What is His name?" When we say 'Tell me about Him.' we are asking to find out about his essence. Similarly, here, the people of Israel are going to ask Moses 'Who is the God who sent you, because it feels as though you are not talking about the same God, whom we know/feel. The God we know, decided to punish us so who is the God that you are speaking about, who decided that it's time to get us to freedom?"
God answers: "My name is the God who is now God and I will keep being God in the future too. Of course, this is also a very unclear answer, but now, when we understand that the subject of the conversation does not concern names but is all about the characters behind the name, we may explain the answer that God gave Moses: "God does everything., He meted out the punishment and in the same way, he would later free the People of Israel.

We are familiar with these types of answers. We give our children answers like them and explain to them that even though we give them a punishment, we do it because we care about them and our goal is to teach them a new lesson so that that they learn from it.

This what God tells them. He sent Moses to tell them that there was a reason for their suffering and it is because he had a special plan for them which was much bigger than they thought and this was why they did not yet recognize it. But now Moses was coming to make the change and what they had to do is keep trusting God and they would see that God was more than what that they had imagined and not to be underestimated!

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