Friday, February 14, 2014

Ki Tissa - The Road of the Soul

Moses speaks with God in our parshah regarding his position as leader of the people and comments:

33:15 And he said unto Him, If Thy Presence go not with me, bring us not up from here [Sinai].

The 1st century commentator Philo understands this passage to have an allegorical message for us, our souls, and how the soul seeks to know God.

Philo imagines that Moses is saying that he wants God to be the guide for his soul, that otherwise he would prefer to stay put.  Philo goes on to comment that through "ignorance and audacity" most people are unable to find the way to heaven and that it is better to stay put than to reach for heaven "in pride and arrogance" and come to sin.

What does Philo mean?  He goes on to explain that there are people who get caught up with how smart they think they are, or else who get caught up thinking about all the possibilities regarding belief in God - but they never get around to really believing, or worse, they never get around to having their belief influence them at all.

Philo encourages us to be guided by God.  And what he means by this is to be guided by proper ideas about what God wants of us and expects us to be, namely the Torah.  He makes an interesting explanation about this when he says, "but the one who follows God does have for his fellow travelers all those reasons which are the attendants of God, which we are accustomed to call angels."  

Let your soul be guided by your good angels then, the good ideas you seek to learn from out of the Torah.

Shabbat Shalom,

Rabbi Benson

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