In the light of the tragedies of the 17th of Tammuz, including Moshe’s smashing of the first Luchos (Tablets) upon seeing the revelry about and worship of the Eigel haZahav (Golden Calf), we all feel broken in some way ourselves. As we struggle through our formative hardships bestowed by Hashem, we turn to Him, the Aibeshter, and plead for mercy in our Galus (Exile), and guidance through our nisyonos (challenges).
The selections for the Torah reading on this fast day, include the passage in which Hashem teaches Moshe the proper manner and performance of prayer, and passes onto His navi the entreaty that the Jewish People should recite in their trouble, that would never fail to invoke His great Rachmanus (compassion). We know this tefillah as Shalosh-Esrei Middos Harachamim/The Thirteen Attributes of Mercy. Each attribute corresponds to a (sometimes slightly)different level of compassion, depending on who beseeches, and why.
After absorbing the powerful words, Moshe hastily prostrates himself and requests that Hashem restore His Presence to His People, “yailech-na Ado-nai b’kirbainu – let my Lord go among us.” There is something interesting to note about the usage of the name “Ado-nai, Lord”:
The meforash (commentator) Or haChaim elaborates: When Moses heard G-d pronounce this supplication for mercy, and understood G-d was going to be very forthcoming with His forgiveness, the leader actually feared that the Jewish People would receive so much beneficence and mercy, that they might fail to acknowledge their error and commit to change their ways! Therefore, he addresses G-d in the following passage as “Ado-nai, Lord”, connoting G-d’s stricter side (like Elokim), so Hashem’s guidance would be meted out in a balance of encouraging kindness and growth-promoting retribution.
This is so very instrumental to understand in our everyday lives. We go though times of sorrow, challenge, fear, pain, confusion– all kinds of personal dark, and we may feel that G-d is being cruel. After all, isn’t He Keil Rachamim, the G-d of Mercy? That’s true too. Remember to always turn to G-d to beseech him for compassion and love in times of trouble. But never forget to search for the voice of Hashem in your dark days too. There is a message contained within that He wants You to discover. All pain we go though is going to refine us to be the best we can be, like silver being melted down and enhanced in a crucible. When you beseech G-d for help, as you struggle through life’s challenges, don’t forget… This is G-d too.
Moshe was onto something… Thank you Hashem for all of Your Divine Inspiration, Your Ruach haKodesh, that You have graced Your Nevi’im (Prophets) with, and what You may grant us to see in the dark.
The Messenger Bird