After the participation of all the tribes in the inauguration of the Tabernacle, the Torah tells of Moshe's entry into it to hear the word of G-d.
Several perplexing details regarding the way G-d communicated His words are enumerated.
Firstly, is the fact that the voice emanated from between the two cherubim atop the ark cover. What is the significance of specifically projecting from between the cherubim?
Secondly, G-d is depicted as a מִדַבֵֵּר — in the reflexive form, literally, 'speaking to itself', as Rashi explains, the voice would speak to itself, and Moshe would listen to it. Does G-d talk to Himself?
Additionally, the verse emphasizes how G-d spoke to 'him', Moshe, excluding expressly Aharon from the 'conversation'. Why is it necessary to spell out Aharon's omission?
Lastly, the verse describes how Moshe heard הקול — 'the' Voice, which Rashi explains means the very same voice, loud and clear, as it spoke to him at Mount Sinai, yet when it reached the entrance of the room, it stopped and incredibly did not proceed further. Couldn't G-d have simply regulated the volume of the sound naturally to a decibel level that only would be heard within the room, and not require an open miracle?
The Torah establishes that the 'sound' that was heard on Mount Sinai, לא יסף — will never cease.
There is a constant 'conversation' taking place, and at times the 'Voice' may be talking figuratively to itself, but the moment one prepares oneself to engage and hear its message, it is eager to be heard.
That is the voice of Sinai that is available for all who seek it. Each one of us hears that calling in a way uniquely suited to our personal mission. The sound is loud and clear, we merely have to 'open' our ears to its message.
What Moshe hears is thus not necessarily what Aharon does, they have two different but unique roles. Each one picks up the soundwaves we are individually equipped to hear per the instrumentation of our different souls.
The Midrash in defining this 'Voice' directs us to the chapter in Psalms where King David refers to the seven expressions of the קול ד' — the voice of Hashem that reverberates through all of creation.
The 'Voice of Hashem' is upon the waters…; the vast waters…; in majesty…; breaks the cedars…; cleaves with flames of fire…; convulses the wilderness…; frightens the deer… (29)
The sixth reference addresses Mount Sinai directly.
The Voice of Hashem יחיל מדבר — convulses the wilderness, יחיל ד' — convulses Hashem, מדבר קדש — the wilderness of Kadesh. (29 9)
The remarkable Gaon and Jewish leader, Rav Dov Ber Weisenfeld, theTchebiner Rav, spent the war years exiled in the dark, distant, and frigidly desolate Siberia. During that time, he received a letter from the great Rebbe of Belz, Rav Aharon Rokeach, with just this verse quoted. No more no less.
The Tchebiner Rav explained the Rebbe's message to those sharing his fate in the frozen 'desert' of Siberia, quoting from the saintly Sar Shalom of Belz, the first Rebbe of Belz and great-grandfather of Rav Aharon.
The word יחיל translated as convulsing has another connotation. יחול alternately means to wait with expectation, as used in the verse where King David expresses, ואני — As for me, איחל תמיד — always shall I hope. (71 14)
In that light we can now translate the previous verse as follows:
קול ד' — The voice of Hashem, יחיל מדבר — the desert 'hopes and yearns' to hear the voice of Hashem.
A region that has never been inhabited by Jews — who infuse every space with blessings, prayers, and words of Torah and holiness — pines for connection to the Creator, longing for an infusion of holiness.
יחיל ד' — Hashem achingly desires, מדבר קדש — to transform the 'desert' into a sanctified abode.
That 'voice' from Sinai awaits his beloved children responding to His call, seeing in every 'desert' an opportunity to converse and engage in a dialogue with G-d in promoting His Presence in every facet and region of creation.
The illustrious Rosh HaYeshiva of Gur, Rav Shaul Alter, adds that this notion beckons a response from us in all the מדבר — 'desert moments' in our life, when we feel distant and disillusioned, to grab those challenges by infusing and elevating it with enthused and renewed commitment.
This is the deeper meaning behind the words of the prophet, "So said the Lord: 'I remember to you the lovingkindness of your youth, the love of your nuptials, your following Me, במדבר — in the desert, in a land not sown'."(ירמיהו ב ב)
This is not simply reminiscing about the glory days of yore, but glorifying how G-d delights over us when He observes how in every moment in our daily lives, although we may feel lost, bereft, and dejected, yet we pull ourselves up by the bootstraps to serve Him with joy. It is our acknowledgment that He is lovingly summoning us to transform the 'desert' into an oasis of sanctity and enthusiasm, that is the ultimate expression of our reciprocal love.
We are left with one unanswered query.
What is the significance in the 'voice' emanating specifically from betwixt the cherubim?
G-d willing I hope to address that in next week's offering.
May we merit to 'respond to the call' in all the 'desert moments' of our lives, sensing the exquisite deep bond of אהבת כלולותיך — the love of your nuptials, that we experienced at Sinai, and continue to each time we do not 'desert' G-d, but hear His 'loud and clear' calling to us always.
צבי יהודה טייכמאן