From this week’s portion I want to focus on the very last verse. Numbers 7:89 says, “Now when Moses went into the tabernacle of meeting to speak with Him, he heard the voice of One speaking to him from above the mercy seat that was on the ark of the Testimony, from between the two cherubim; thus He spoke to him.” The relationship between God and Moses was so close that in a later chapter, Numbers 12, God says of Moses, “…My servant Moses; He is faithful in all My house. I speak with him face to face, even plainly, and not in dark sayings…” And in Deuteronomy 34, again God says, “…there has not arisen in Israel a prophet like Moses, whom the Lord knew face to face…” All these verses share a common theme, knowing and speaking with God. Moses knew God intimately and because of this relationship, God spoke to Moses face to face.
“Moses with the Tables of the Law”
By Guido Reni (1575-1642)
In the above verse from this week’s portion, we read that Moses, “…heard the voice of One speaking to him…” The Hebrew used for this paragraph is “…v’yishma et-Hakol midaber elav…” which can literally be translated as, “…and he heard The Voice speak to him…” Rabbeinu Bachya makes an interesting note in his commentary concerning this verse, he states, “…the letter ? at the beginning of the word ????, makes it plain that this was the same voice that had spoken to Moses at Mount Sinai…” His point is this. In the Hebrew it doesn’t say “a voice—kol” instead it says, “The Voice—Hakol.” And what was “The Voice” Moses heard? It was the very voice of God, which he had heard on Mount Sinai. Whenever Moses entered the Tent of Meeting, it was as if he relived the Sinai experience over again as he listened to the sound of God’s voice. The Hebrew letter “Hey— ?” is equivalent to our English letter “H” and when used in front of a Hebrew word, as in the statement “Hakol—The Voice;” the “Hey— ?” adds “the” to a word. As L. Grant Luton writes, “…when he[y] is prefixed to the front of a word, that word derives a uniqueness and singularity that was lacking before its arrival.” The “Hey— ?” gives individuality to any person or word it is attached to. And what does the letter “Hey— ?” represent? It represents God’s name “Hashem—Lord” which is God’s name of Mercy. Whenever someone/something is attached to God, it gives them/it individuality and uniqueness. Attaching oneself to God is what allows people to fully experience who He created them to truly become. Instead of me being just “Shmuel—Samuel,” when God is added into the picture, through the letter “Hey— ?,” I become “HaShmuel—The Samuel” who God created me to be.
So when it says Moses heard “Hakol—The Voice” speaking, it means he heard a Voice imbued with God’s essence = The Voice of God.
It says in the verse that he (Moses) heard “…Hakol midaber elav…The Voice speak to him…” What is interesting is we could also translate this verse as, Moses heard “…The Voice speaking to Himself…” What does this mean? In a sense, it means, Moses heard God talking to Himself. Ever since the beginning of Creation God has been speaking. There is no accident as to why God created the world using the sound of His own voice. As I brought up several weeks ago, the idea behind the word “Abracadabra” in Hebrew can be construed to mean, “I will create like I speak.” Has the world ever stopped the process of creation? If it hasn’t, then we must ask the next obvious question, has God ever stopped speaking? What Moses encountered in the Tabernacle was God’s eternal conversation with Himself by which the entire universe is sustained.
In Psalm 33 it says, “By the word of the Lord the heavens were made, and all the host of them by the breath of His mouth.” This “breath of His mouth” is said to correspond to the Hebrew letter “Hey— ?” because the sound this letter makes is like an exhalation of breath, which in God’s case would represent His Spirit. God sustains the entire universe through the “breath of His mouth” = His Spirit. Psalm 29 goes into great detail describing what the voice of God accomplishes in the earth. The idea that God is constantly speaking may boggle our minds and yet, when our Rabbi, Yeshua, walked this earth, He said, “He who has ears to hear, let him hear…[yet] seeing they do not see, and hearing they do not hear, nor do they understand…”
“Jesus Teaches the People by the Sea”
By James Tissot (1836-1902)
Many people say they hear from God, but if the voice of God leads you away from the purposes and Torah of God, guess what? It’s not God. We may not be able to walk into the Tabernacle today and hear God’s voice directly, but we do have His Torah as well as “the Helper, the Holy Spirit” to lead and guide us for God’s namesake, if not for ours. We may get things wrong or be confused at times; but get back up and follow the voice of God. He is always speaking, we must only ask for ears to hear, eyes to see and a heart open to His truth, for as it says in John 16, “the Spirit of truth, has come, He will guide you into all truth…” But even if you try and hide truth away, in words of the writer, Emile Zola, “…shut up truth, and bury it underground, it will…grow.”
Grace and peace from God’s bondservant,
Shabbat Shalom,

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