Shemot (Exodus): Ki Tisa > Ch 33

G-d tells Moses to take the people to Israel with an angel leading the way. G-d decides not to lead them Himself, to avoid being angered and destroying them

  • G-d told Moses to ascend to the Promised Land, a land flowing with milk and honey: I will send an angel before you, and I will drive out the Canaanites, the Amorites, the Hittites, the Perizzites, the Hivvites, and the Jebusites. I will not go up in your midst since you are a stiff necked people, lest I destroy you on the way. The people heard this bad news, they mourned, and no one put on his finery.
  • G-d told Moses: Say to the children of Israel: 'You are a stiff necked people; if I go up into your midst for one moment, I will destroy you; but now, leave off your finery, and I will know what to do to you.' So the children of Israel divested themselves of their finery from Mount Horeb.

Moses pitches a tent of meeting outside the camp and talks to G-d there. People prostrate themselves upon seeing the pillar of cloud descend at the entrance of the tent.

  • Moses pitched a tent for himself outside the camp, he called it the tent of meeting, and it would be that anyone seeking the Lord would go out to that tent. When Moses would go out to the tent, all the people would rise and stand, each one at the entrance of his tent, and they would gaze after Moses until he went into the tent. When Moses entered the tent, the pillar of cloud would descend and stand at the entrance of the tent, and He would speak with Moses. When all the people would see the pillar of cloud standing at the entrance of the tent, all the people would rise and prostrate themselves, each one at the entrance of his tent.

Moses asks G-d to lead the people Himself and G-d agrees, for Moses had found favor in his eyes

  • G-d would speak to Moses face to face, as a man would speak to his companion, and he would return to the camp, but his attendant, Joshua, the son of Nun, a lad, would not depart from the tent. Moses said to G-d: "Look, You say to me: 'Bring this people up!' But You have not informed me whom You will send with me. And You said: 'I have known you by name and you have also found favor in My eyes.' And now, if I have indeed found favor in Your eyes, pray let me know Your ways, so that I may know You, so that I may find favor in Your eyes; and consider that this nation is Your people." G-d said to Moses: My Presence will go, and I will give you rest. Moses said to G-d: "If Your Presence does not go [with us], do not take us up from here. For how then will it be known that I have found favor in Your eyes, I and Your people? Is it not in that You will go with us? Then I and Your people will be distinguished from every [other] nation on the face of the earth." G-d said to Moses: Even this thing that you have spoken, I will do, for you have found favor in My eyes, and I have known you by name.

Moses asks to see G-d. G-d’s glory passes by Moses. G-d does not show Moses His face in order to preserve Moses’ life.

  • Moses said to G-d: "Show me, now, Your glory!"
  • G-d said to Moses: I will let all My goodness pass before you; I will proclaim the name of the Lord before you, and I will favor when I wish to favor, and I will have compassion when I wish to have compassion. You will not be able to see My face, for man shall not see Me and live.
  • Behold, there is a place with Me, and you shall stand on the rock. And it shall be that when My glory passes by, I will place you into the cleft of the rock, and I will cover you with My hand until I have passed by. Then I will remove My hand, and you will see My back but My face shall not be seen.