The Practical Guide to Infinity
New book of biblical proportions, explains the story of the Jews like it can happen today. The following excerpts are from The Book of Exodus due out this winter. We have some calls in to interview the book’s author and we look forward to its publication in our upcoming Passover issue.
…THE GOLDEN CALF: Pharaoh did not believe that G-d, the Creator, manifested His power on earth; he believed that G-d abandoned the world to the immutable forces of nature. Hence, the purpose of the plagues was to demonstrate that G-d can and does manifest Himself in the world, and thus to prove that He is the sole power we should obey.
When Moses did not descend the mountain at the anticipated time, the mixed multitude speculated that there was perhaps another explanation for the plagues. Perhaps, they reasoned, it was not that G-d overcame nature, but that one force of nature overcame another.
Specifically, the Egyptians worshipped the zodiacal sign Aries, the ram. The next sign of the zodiac is Taurus, the bull. Perhaps Taurus overcame Aries? This theory was so convincing that some of the Israelites accepted it; this is why the idol the people made was a calf.
…THEY SACRIFICED ASCENT-OFFERINGS AND BROUGHT PEACE-OFFERINGS: How is it that the people who witnessed G-d’s miracles in Egypt and at the Sea of Reeds, experienced His revelation at Mount Sinai could commit such a blatant transgression so soon afterward?
True, a close reading of the narrative reveals that it was a gradual series of well-intentioned mistakes exploited by the mixed multitude that led them to build the calf and that only a small percentage of the people actually participated. Still the magnitude of the sin seems totally disproportionate to the spiritual heights the people had so recently attained.
The sages therefore assert that the entire incident was “forced upon the people by G-d. The purpose was to provide an example of repentance for wrongdoers to follow, or, in a large sense, to enable humanity to rise to the heights of spiritual achievement only attainable through repentance.
Repentance is not a path in life that we can chose on our own, since no one is allowed to sin intentionally. It is possible to repent only after we suffer an inadvertent lapse in Divine consciousness, allowing us to be duped into wrongdoing. Therefore, since the people at this time were beyond any wrongdoing, G-d had to give the evil inclination temporary sway over them so they could subsequently repent.
…GO DOWN FROM YOUR PRESENT SPIRITUAL LEVEL: Moses not only did not participate in the people’s sin, he could not even be faulted for not protesting their actions, since he was not there. Nonetheless, he was adversely affected by their sin. Such is the nature of the bond between a true Jewish leader and his people—when they fall, he falls too.
…THEY HAVE ONLY BEEN OVERCOME TEMPORARILY BY THE FOLLY OF THE MOMENT: Moses articulated here a fundamental truth regarding every Jew’s intrinsic connection with G-d, inherited from the patriarchs and sealed at the Giving of the Torah.
By virtue of our Divine soul we are all inherently and irrevocably bound to G-d, and are incapable of severing or denying —or even wanting to sever or deny— that bond.
A Jew can contravene G-d’s will in even the slightest way only when his intrinsic bond recedes into his subconscious mind and his conscious mind is overtaken by the temporary illusion that ignoring or denying this bond is somehow advantageous.
But even then, deep down the Jew remains faithful to his intrinsic bond with G d. He knows that the illusion is a ruse and refuses to be duped. Exodus 32:4-11
Book Excerpt from The Book of Exodus With an Interpolated English Translation and Commentary Based on the Works of the Lubavitcher Rebbe.
Published by Kehot Publication Society. Rabbi Moshe Wisnefsky served as Editor-in-Chief with contributing editors: Rabbis Baruch Kaplan, Betzalel Lifshitz, Yosef Marcus and Dov Wagner.
For more information visit www.kehot.com