This week’s parsha post is dedicated in memory of Thalia Hakin, a young girl who was tragically killed by a reckless driver. Although she is no longer dwelling with us in Olam Hazeh, she has not truly died. She left a life behind, not only in the physical sense, but also as a legacy. She brought light and life into the world with a few powerful words, expressed in a poem, about lighting Shabbos candles, and those very words are inspiring numerous individuals around the world today, individuals from all Jewish backgrounds alike. I hope with all my heart and soul that these divrei Torah will be an elevation for her Neshama. Girls and women, all dear readers, we are one big family, all of our souls are from the same Source, and this is why we feel acute pain at learning of Thalia’s sad passing. But as a family, we will stand strong together, and live for her! Everyone can do something to elevate her Neshama, even in the smallest way, from davening in her memory, to giving a smile to someone else, along with a few pure, sincere words.
May it be an ilui neshama.
This week’s parsha opens with a supreme and holy scene: G-d speaking with Moshe Rabbeinu.
“Vaydaber Elokim el-Moshe vayomer eilav Ani Hashem. V’aira el-Avraham el-Yitzchak v’el-Yaakov b’Keil Shakkai ooShmi Hashem lo nodati lahem — G-d spoke to Moses and said to him: “I am the Lord. I appeared to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob as Keil Shakkai, but I did not make Myself know to them by My name Hashem” (the four-letter Name yud and hei and vav and hei, which we’ll refer to as “Havayah” throughout the article). (Shemos, 6:2-3)
Truly, we cannot name Hashem. Hashem transcends all descriptions and names we may use. No label can ever be put on Him. However, the ‘names’ of G-d we use (and He has numerous) are simply how we refer to an aspect or action of Hashem we are trying to understand and communicate with. (For example, Hashem’s name “Elokim”, reflects Hashem’s strict ‘side’, the part of Hashem Who may judge us severely [Elokim meaning “judges” when not referring to Hashem].)
The brilliant scholar and commentator, the Shadal expounds upon the verses, and the intriguing details by which Hashem revealed Himself to our forefathers:
“The Avos knew Hashem as Keil Shakkai, the Almighty G-d, for this is the aspect in which He revealed Himself, and communicated with them. They recognized Hashem, and especially connected to Him, in times of salvation, such as when Avraham went into battle against the four enemy kings; when He prevented Yitzchak from being sacrificed during the Akeida; and Yaakov when he lived in the treacherous Lavan’s house. Keil Shakkai, is Hashem conducting salvations, and causing miracles to occur. All their life, they understood Hashem’s goodness, and the truth and wisdom in everything He does.
But later on, the Bnei Yisroel, the descendants of the Avos, suffered greatly at the hands of the cruel Egyptians, and the barbarically difficult labor they enslaved them with.
Moshe asks Hashem, ‘Why have you let this people come to suffer?!’ Hashem answers him here, in the above verses, especially verse 2: He responds “Ani Hashem – I am ‘Havayah'”. And Hashem continues to explain: ‘Why have I let My people suffer? I have a pure and true reason for all of My doings. This Name that I have revealed Myself to you by, my four-letter name Havayah, is a deeper reflection of My greater essence, even greater than Keil Shakkai as I revealed myself to your forefathers! And from this four-letter name, emanates all that is to befall the universe, good and bad alike. This is the true Me– I am the Source of everything!“
The Shadal explains further:
“Hashem told Moshe that His name, ‘Havayah’ connotes ‘One Who is true to fulfill His words’. Hashem swore to the Avos that their children would not forever be enslaved, and that we will possess true freedom, in our own land. That we would merit to be redeemed from our exile, once and for all.
The Avos didn’t know Hashem as ‘One Who is true to fulfill His words’, not because they didn’t have bitachon in Hashem, but because these promises weren’t fulfilled in their lifetimes.”
Maybe Hashem was giving Moshe an even deeper message, that we must delve even further into His explanations to find. Maybe Hashem’s conversation with Moshe is crying out a message for us today:
To be truly free, and to merit geulah, we need to first understand that everything in life, comes from the same Ultimate Source. Our greatest pains, sorrows, and nisyonos, are sent from the same place as the moments of our greatest joy. It all comes from Hashem.
This is very inspiring, in light of the tragedy that has just occurred. We have experienced great sorrow at Thalia’s untimely death.. but our greatest nechama is understanding it comes from the Single, Holy, Wise, and Loving Source. Hashem will fulfill his promise to our forebears! And at that time, when the Dawn of Moshiach Rises, we’ll be with our loved ones once again, and we will recognize Hashem, ‘Havayah’, in His greatest, most obvious essence.
The Messenger Bird