One of the most dramatic scenes from our nation’s history unfolds as Moses descends Mt. Sinai holding the tablets containing the Ten Commandments. Witnessing his people worshipping a golden calf, he throws down the tablets, shattering the priceless covenantal agreement between the Jewish people and G‑d.
Biblical commentaries offer various reasons why Moses broke the tablets. One explanation is that he was attempting to save the nation from G‑d’s wrath by destroying the contract that they had flagrantly breached.
But in breaking the tablets at this critical moment, Moses was also engraving on his people’s psyche an essential message that would remain with them for eternity.
Perhaps Moses was telling them that because their “contractual agreement” with G‑d had been violated and destroyed, G‑d was now effectively freed from any commitment to them. And yet, although the contract had been shattered, G‑d would not desert them. Even without a “contract,” they would remain His chosen people.
Moses wanted the Jewish people to see that G‑d’s connection to them goes beyond contractual agreements, beyond circumstances and bad choices, and even beyond logic itself. It is an essential, unbreakable bond of love for all times and places.
And perhaps, in his dramatic act, Moses was also asking the Jewish people to reciprocate, by rededicating themselves to G‑d for all times as His chosen people—even when it would become difficult.
Even in circumstances when it would not be rational or seem beneficial . . . even if it would seem that He was not keeping His promises to us . . . even if other nations would hate us for it . . . and even if it would mean reaching deep within our souls to access a tiny ember of flickering faith.
The Jewish people understood the lesson in Moses’ dramatic act. It became etched into the very fabric of our nation.
Centuries later they rededicated themselves to being G‑d’s nation on the holiday of Purim, when Haman tried to kill each and every one of them, yet not even a single Jew considered converting to another faith to be spared his death sentence.
And until today, Moses’ message helps us to turn to G‑d and restore our connection again and again, even during the most trying times.
Do you have a personal story when it was a struggle for you to maintain your faith yet you held strong? Please share.
L’Chaim! Wishing you a very joyous Purim!