The Torah consists of five books, subdivided into 54 "Parshahs". These are commonly called "The Five Books of Moses."

At first glance, the name seems somewhat misapplied. It's true that Moses transcribed them, and it's further true that he's the main character in the narrative; but isn't it G‑d's Torah? The Talmud similarly wonders at the prophet's call (Malachi 3:22) to "Remember the Torah of Moses my servant." Is it then Moses' Torah? Yes it is, says the Talmud. "Because he gave his life to it, it is called by his name."

There's no mention of Moses in the first book, Bereishit (Genesis). That makes sense — he wasn't born yet. The word "Moses" appears only a few times in the fifth book, Devarim (Deuteronomy). That, too, is understood — the whole of Devarim is a 37-day long speech which Moses delivers to the people of Israel before his passing. Throughout Devarim's eleven Parshahs we hear his speaking voice — "At that time G‑d said to me...", "And then we journeyed forth..." (in contrast, the rest of the Torah is written in the third person — "And G‑d spoke to Moses...", "And Moses ascended the mountain...", etc.)

In the other three books, the name "Moses" appears many times in every Parshah — often dozens of times on a single page. In every Parshah, that is, except one: the section of Tetzaveh (Exodus 27:20-30:10) includes not a single mention of Moses' name.

The Baal HaTurim commentary on Torah explains this phenomenon as a consequence of something that Moses said to G‑d in the wake of the sin of the Golden Calf. When the people of Israel betrayed their covenant with G‑d just 40 days after receiving the Torah at Mount Sinai, G‑d told Moses that He plans to destroy the errant nation and build a new and better people from Moses' descendents. Moses pleaded and argued on the people's behalf, finally saying to G‑d: "Now, if You will forgive their sin... But if You won't, blot me out from the book that You have written" (Exodus 32:32). This is why, says the Baal HaTurim, Moses' name is missing from the Parshah of Tetzaveh.

A few things, however, remain to be understood:

a) In the end, of course, G‑d did not destroy the people of Israel and did not erase Moses' name from the Torah. So why was Moses' name removed from Tetzaveh? Is this some sort of punishment or "fallout" from his audacious words, or is there some deeper significance to their partial realization?

b) What was Moses trying to achieve? Was this some kind of "threat" to force G‑d's hand? Is there any way that the erasure of Moses' name from the Torah would save the people of Israel?

c) Why, of all the 54 Parshahs in the Torah, is Tetzaveh the one to lose Moses' name? In fact, the account of Israel's sin and Moses' "ultimatum" appear in the following Parshah of Ki Tisa!

The Zohar speaks of G‑d, the Torah and the people of Israel as "three links that are interlinked with each other.. each consisting of a level upon a level, hidden and revealed."

What are these "hidden" and "revealed" levels of which the Zohar speaks? The Chassidic masters explain that there are two levels on which G‑d, Israel and the Torah are interlinked. On the "revealed" level, Torah is the link between G‑d and Israel. G‑d is infinite and unknowable, and we are finite and mortal beings. But G‑d gave us His Torah, decreeing it to be the embodiment of His wisdom and will; when we study the Torah and fulfill its precepts, we connect to G‑d.

On a deeper level, however, the connection runs the other way: The souls of Israel are what link the Torah to G‑d. On this level, the soul is a spark of the Divine essence, and the Torah is the product of this oneness. G‑d, as He is unto Himself, is beyond possessing a "wisdom" or "will"; He acquires these solely as a means by which to express His intrinsic relationship with us.

In other words, on the "revealed" level, a Jewish people who reject the Torah, G‑d forbid, lose their connection with G‑d. On the hidden level, it is the Torah who "needs" us to be connected with the Almighty.

(Thus there are verses and Midrashim that describe the Jewish people as G‑d's "children" — a child's relationship with his or her parent derives from the fact that he or she is an extension of the parent's being. In other places, we see the Torah as the source of our bond, like the Midrash which describes the Torah as G‑d's "daughter" and Israel as the "son-in-law of the King.")

Now we can understand what Moses achieved by insisting that G‑d "erase his name" from the Torah.

A person's "name" is the self he presents to the world, beyond which lies a deeper, core self that transcends all appellation and description. Thus our Sages tell us that "the entire Torah is G‑d's names" — i.e., the manner that G‑d makes Himself known to us.

When G‑d said to Moses that Israel's abandonment of the Torah had destroyed their bond with Him, Moses understood that this meant that G‑d was now relating to them on His "name" level — the "revealed" dimension of their bond, where the Torah is the link between G‑d and Israel. He knew that to save the people of Israel he must evoke their "hidden" relationship with G‑d — the intrinsic bond that no transgression can shake. So he said to G‑d: "Erase my name from the Torah."

The Torah is my life, Moses was saying. Moreover, it is the substance of my relationship with the people I love: I am their teacher, the transmitter of Your wisdom to them. But my ultimate bond with them runs deeper still. So much so, that I desire to obliterate my name from the Torah, since as long as I define my role in their lives as their source of Torah, their abandonment of the Torah will mean that I am no longer connected with them.

The deeds of the righteous have an interesting effect on G‑d — they cause Him to act likewise. Moses' words prompted G‑d to likewise assume His "hidden" and "nameless" relationship with His people — the bond that transcends Torah, and is in fact the source and raison d'etre of Torah. (Thus, in the final analysis, Moses didn't only save the people of Israel — he also saved the Torah.)

The Parshah of Tetzaveh serves as a glorious monument to Moses' great deed and to what it achieved. For while his "name" is indeed absent from the Parshah, his nameless essence pervades it all the more for his named absence. This can be seen in the very first sentence of Tetzaveh, which records G‑d's words to Moses: "And you shall command the children of Israel..." In the Parshah's very first word — v'atah, "and you" — Moses is there. Not by his name, but by his name-transcending "you".

Why Tetzaveh? Adar 7 — Moses' birthday and the date of his passing — always falls in proximity to this week in which the Parshah of Tetzaveh is read in the annual Torah reading cycle, making it a most fitting week in which to be introduced to the quintessential "you" of Moses.