weekly Torah reading: parasha Ki Tisa 5783 – Compassionate Consideration
“And the L-RD passed by before him, and proclaimed: ‘The L-RD, the L-RD G-d, merciful and gracious, long-suffering, and abundant in goodness and truth: keeping mercy unto the thousandth generation, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin.” – Exodus 34:6-7
H’Shem acknowledges the broken human condition of mankind; for we ourselves are shattered vessels, not unlike those that originally contained the divine light – a microcosm of the macrocosm. Therefore, He is merciful to potential sinners, even knowing that they will, indeed, sin. This act of compassion towards those who are prone to sin, denotes the mercy associated with His name. How could frail man be treated with ill intentions by the One Who is “Compassionate and Gracious, Slow to Anger, and Abundant in Kindness and Truth” (Exodus 34:6)?
Rather, let this serve as a model for us human beings, within the framework of our relationships to each other; for, we may learn to be tolerant of others, who we might otherwise despise, if we, regrettably took the stance of a haughty attitude towards them. Moreover, we do not know whether or not someone will engage in unlawful (sinful) behavior; therefore, we should not judge anyone who might seem inclined towards a less than godly life.
There is hope for all, including ourselves when we fall. For H’Shem is also “Forgiver of Iniquity, Willful Sin, and Error” (34:7). This is our reassurance, that when we are unfaithful to the stipulations of the Sinai covenant, H’Shem is still faithful to us. Like unto His forgiveness of B’nei Yisrael, regarding the golden calf debacle, in response to the compassion that Moses elicited from Him through his prayer on behalf of the people; this is also a model for us, to seek H’Shem’s forgiveness, when we fall prey to temptation. “Pardon our iniquity and our sin, and take us for Thine inheritance” (Exodus 34:9, JPS 1917 Tanach).
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