ולא יכל משה לבוא אל אהל מועד כי שכן עליו הענן וכבוד ד’ מלא את המשכן.

ובהעלות הענן מעל המשכן יסעו בני ישראל בכל מסעיהם

And Moshe could not enter the Tent of Meeting for the cloud rested upon it, and the Glory of God filled the Tabernacle. Upon the ascent of the cloud from upon the Tabernacle, the Israelites would embark upon their journeys.

In what amounts to the grand finale of the book of Shemos, the Tabernacle is completed, the cloud of Divine Presence rests upon it, and God’s Glory permeates its interior. Even Moshe, we are told, could not enter the Tabernacle at that moment, for the Glory of God was too strong for any mortal to endure.

In a seemingly unrelated verse, the Torah then goes on to tell us that the Israelites would travel upon the cloud’s ascent from upon the Tabernacle, and stay put so long as it remained. While there is surely much to be learned from this protocol, it remains unclear what relation it has to the fact that Moshe could not enter the Tabernacle so long as the cloud remained.

Is the juxtaposition of these two facts mere happenstance?

We think not.

Why, we must ask ourselves, could Moshe indeed not enter the Tabernacle while enveloped by the Glory of God? After all, did he not spend forty days up in heaven while receiving the Torah? Wasn’t he qualified to be God’s guest?

Apparently, even Moshe cannot possible encounter God with full clarity so long as he inhabits our Earth. The very fiber of human life, you see, is the ability to advance. What fuels our existence is the drive to capture that ever-elusive sense of fulfillment never completely achievable yet always entirely pursuable. To have experienced Godliness with the clarity that existed as God’s Glory filled the Tabernacle, would be to have captured the final frontier of human possibility. After scaling that last peak and reaching that last summit, there would be nothing left to live for, and with nothing to live for one cannot possibly live. It was thus imperative that an element of Godly revelation remain beyond the grasp of even Moshe, so that he may yet subsist upon the aspiration of achieving that as-yet unattainable goal.

Apparently, that very same dynamic was at play in determining when the Israelites were to travel. As long as the Godly presence rested upon the Tabernacle, they stayed put, for with God at hand, what more could possibly lay ahead? Only when the Godly presence lifted did they once again come alive, fueled by the dream of capturing the spirituality which now lay just beyond reach, propelled by that perpetual pursuit of perfection which is life.

And we complain that every time we finally catch up with God He slips away….

How foolish!

God is teaching us how to advance like a father teaches his son how to walk.

Come, child, come.

Just a little further.

Just a few more steps now.

Not just there yet.

Let me back up now.

Come on, you can make it.

Or do we want Him to give us a lolly after three steps and tell us we’ve maxed our potential?

Why does He play Hide-and-Seek?


Because if He wouldn’t hide, we wouldn’t seek!

Tags: Parsha Parsha Ponderings Pekudei vayakhel Vayakhel-Pekudei

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