The Four Mountains
Two of the Four Mountains appear in this week’s portion: “It shall be that when God, your Lord, brings you to the land to which you come, to possess it, then you shall deliver the blessing on Mount Gerizim and the curse on Mount Ebal. Are they not on the other side of the Jordan, far from Gilgal, near the Plains of Moreh? (Deuteronomy 11:29-30)
The other two, of course, are Moriah, where Abraham bound Isaac and where we built the Beit Hamikdash, and Sinai.
God appeared to Abraham alone in the first mention of Shechem (See Just The One): “God appeared to Abram and said, ‘To your offspring I will give this land.’” (Genesis 12:7)
God appeared to Abraham alone in the first mention of Moriah: “And He said, Please take your son, your only one, whom you love, Isaac, and go to the land of Moriah; bring him up there as an offering upon of the mountains which I shall tell you.” (Genesis 22:2)
God appeared to Moshe alone in the first mention of Sinai/Horeb: “He arrived at the Mountain of God, toward Horeb.” (Exodus 3:1)
But then, God appeared to the entire nation at Sinai.
King Solomon constructed the Temple of God for the entire nation on Moriah.
The entire nation stood on Gerizim and Ebal to enter the Covenant of Blessings and Curses.
The two orders of the Four Mountains are interesting: The individual meetings go from Moriah and Shechem to Sinai. The national stories began at Sinai, then Shechem, and then Moriah. It as if the nation walks not away, but toward its past as it matures as a nation. It seems as if we seek to return to those first “individual” moments, first with Moshe at Sinai, and Abraham at Shechem and Moriah. We, as a nation, seek to reclaim the personal connection with God as we travel from one to another of the Four Mountains.
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