Once upon a time…. 2 faiths (reflexions on parashah Shemot)
Desembre 23, 2010 per ravjordigendra
Moses escaped the tragic fate of enslaved people, “in the land of bondage,” he is a prince of Egypt, but he cannot close his ears and his urge to say “let my people go.”
In the eyes of power and princes, he is already suspect. One day he killed an Egyptian who was beating a Hebrew, subsequently he was and denounced by two Hebrews, forcing him to flee to Arabia. Thus the prince becomes a pariah. He became Jethro’s shepherd of, priest of Arabia, and he married one of Jethro’s daughters, Zipporah.
Twenty years have passed and it seems that Moses forgot all about the crash of his people. In the desert he has a strange vision, “the burning bush that was not consumed.” That may be a response to his piercing and permanent torment regarding the fate of his people.
Then he gets the call: “Go and say to Pharaoh, let my people go.” The mission is terrifying, then, as anybody would do, he moves back and uses all possible arguments: his age, his sentence in Egypt, his lack of articulation “I have never been a man of words,” the Hebrews will not believe me and finally the question “And if they ask me “What is His name?” What shall I say to them?”
The answer is surprising: “I am who I am.” “Being” with a capital “B”. Being sent me to you. Indeed the verb to be is the future here, “I’d be the one who will!
A God to happen? A God that is being brought closer or pushed away by human actions? But God said further to Moses “Thus hslall you speak to the Israelites. The Lord, the God of your fathers, God Abraham, God of Isaac, God of Jacob has sent me to you.”
Why these two answers? what can they mean? The first response would suggest a religious approach totally selfless and purely speculative. The second, God of the ancestors of Abraham Isaac and Jacob, responds to our need for evidence and speaks about a faith that is linked to a story, like the one who acts just because of the promised reward.
The first two paragraphs of the Shema address this dual approach. The first speaks of the unselfish love, the second responds to the need of promises. As shocking at it might seem for our consciousness today, many texts of our ancient tradition suggest that these two two attitudes, these two approaches can co-exist.
But can we really separate them? Can we consider each of these two categories as unrelated to each other?