Hallel: Rosh Chodesh Sivan: An Introduction to Paragraph Three
“Moses ascended to the Lord, and God called to him from the mountain, saying, ‘ So shall you say to the House of Jacob and relate to the Children of Israel’.” Moshe may have ascended to, “the Lord,” the Divine Attribute of Judgment, but it was God, in His Divine Attribute of Expansive Life-Force, Who called to him from the mountain.
This was Moshe’s third trip to this mountain: it was here that he witnessed the Bush that appeared to be Burning. It was here that he began his role as leader and teacher of the Jewish people. “He guided the sheep far into the wilderness. He arrived at the Mountain of the Lord, toward Horeb (Exodus 3:1).” In this first meeting with God, just as in this meeting, Moshe was in the wilderness. When the verse tells us that, “he arrived at the Mountain of the Lord,” it is telling us that he was searching for God. God appeared in the Burning Bush because Moshe arrived there searching for God.
The description of the Burning Bush never indicates where on the mountain God appeared in the Earning Bush! In fact, when the verse says, “he arrived at the mountain of the Lord,” it hints that he just arrived, and had yet to climb the mountain. This would mean that in the Sinai story, when Moshe, “ascended the mountain,” he wanted to go higher on the mountain then he had at his first meeting with God. Moshe wanted more than he had ever experienced before! This is why, although he ascended to the more, it was God, the Divine Attribute of Compassion that responded to him. Moshe wanted more, so God told him that the “more” would be in an entirely new relationship with God; that of Expansiveness.
“And God called to him from the mountain,” as if God was actually on the mountain. The first could have said, “God called to him.” When the verse adds, “from the mountain,” is teaching us that God was instructing Moshe that He was calling to Moshe from all that Moshe had already accomplished. Torah must always be approached as “new,” but “new” does not mean as if all the accomplishments of the past are not there. “New,” means that you can take all that you have achieved in the past with you as you approach this “beginning.”
The people observed as Moshe climbed the mountain. They did not climb with him. It was at that moment when the boundaries of Sinai were imposed; the boundaries were imposed by the people on themselves when they did not believe that they could climb the mountain together with Moshe. They were committed to repairing their relationship with God. They were prepared for an entirely new level of connection with God. But, they did not sufficiently believe in themselves that they could climb together with Moshe.
“So shall you say to the House of Jacob and relate to the Children of Israel.” Moshe would have to learn to teach Torah to each individual in a way to which the individual could relate. Some people needed a soft and compassionate, “say.” Others, wanted a harsher and stricter, “Relate,” of rules, laws, and regulations. The minute that the Children of Israel did not climb the mountain together with Moshe, not only were boundaries established on and around Sinai, boundaries were imposed on themselves. They were locked into certain self imposed definitions. Moshe would have to learn how to address the people in such a way that the words of Torah, the The Covenant of Torah, would break down all barriers and self imposed limitations.
Searching for God, a desire to ascend higher than ever before, the awareness that even with a beginning we can take all our past accomplishments, and the need to repair the lack of courage that prevented Israel from climbing together with Moshe, and, most of all, the awareness that the Covenant of Torah speaks to each on his own individual level, smashing all self imposed barriers, are the ideas addressed in the third paragraph of this Hallel.