Tehillim on the Parsha: Ki Tisa: God’s Humility
“When He finished speaking to him on Mount Sinai, He gave Moses the Two Tablets of Testimony, stone tablets inscribed by the finger of God.” (Exodus 31:18) The fact that God gave the Two Tablets of testimony to Moses even after they had begun to sin with the Golden Calf reflects a powerful concept described by the verse in Psalms, “You have given me the shield of Your salvation.” (Psalms 18:36) This verse describes Israel who trust in the Holy One, Blessed is He, and He shields them, as the verse says, “He is a shield for all who take refuge in Him,” (Psalms 18:31) and, “Your right hand has sustained me.” (18:36) The “Right Hand” refers us to the verse, “From His right hand He presented the fiery Torah to them.” (Deuteronomy 33:2) King David continues in his psalm, “Your humility made me great.”
Is there one more humble them the holy one, Blessed is He?
Rabbi Abba taught that the custom of the world it is for a student who sits before his teacher to thank his teacher for all the effort the teacher has put in in conveying wisdom. And yet here, at the time of the Two Tablets and the sin of the Golden Calf, rather than the students thanking the teacher, God, they rebelled against Him. Despite their rebellion God gave the Two Tablets of Testimony to Moses. This is what King David refers to when he says, “Your humility made me great.” God’s humility in giving us the Two Tablets even after our sin gave us the potential to continue to become great people, to overcome our mistakes, to rectify our sins, and achieve his original dream in giving his Torah to us. (Shemot Rabbah 41:4)
The verses listed in the Midrash are not limited to God’s humility. The verses mention God’s “shield of salvation,” ‘Israel’s trust in the Holy One, Blessed is He’ and ‘God’s Right Hand sustaining us.’ The Midrash seems to be teaching us that it is God’s humility that enables our trust, provides the “shield of salvation,” and the, “God’s right hand sustaining us.” All are related. All rely on God’s humility.
When God, in His humility, gave us the Two Tablets even after we had begun to sin, He was sending a powerful message to us: God was telling us that His humility would guarantee that the relationship could not be broken. The relationship would last even when we acted with disrespect. We, the people of Israel, perceived this act of humility as God’s “shield of protection”. It was this shield, and the “right hand” that gave us the Torah in our imperfect state, that taught us we can trust in Him.
Our first moments of Torah, as imperfect as they were, were filled with a sense of God’s humility, His protection, His “right-hand” extended to us, and taught us to trust in Him.
Therefore, each time we approach Torah, we must approach our study with an awareness of God’s humility, His shield of salvation, His Right Hand extended in love, and our need to trust in Him.