A person is a combination of many qualities. Our attempt in life is to combine these in a balanced way, and to bring out their highest and most positive levels of potential. The Torah helps us in this task, for many of the situations which it describes are actually in some way taking place within each individual.

The Sedra1 begins in the middle of a discussion between Moses and G‑d.

Moses' attempt to gain freedom for the Jewish people has resulted only in an increased level of oppression.2 Moses was perplexed. Last week's Sedra ends with him asking a question to G‑d: Why has only bad resulted from his obedience to G‑d's command?

Our Sedra begins with G‑d's answer, which has intrigued our Sages through the generations.

There are two main aspects to this answer. One is that G‑d contrasts Moses with the Patriarchs: Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. Moses has asked the question "why?" The Patriarchs themselves experienced many vicissitudes, but did not question G‑d. The second aspect of G‑d's answer is that He tells Moses that to him will be revealed the essential Divine Name, the Tetragrammaton, the Name which we may never pronounce. By contrast, only a lesser Name was revealed to the Patriarchs.

What is meant by this reply? Are the Patriarchs higher or lower than Moses? Is Moses being reprimanded or encouraged? One way of explaining this riddle is in terms of the inner workings of an individual. Moses represents the Mind; the Patriarchs the Heart.

Moses taught the wisdom of the Torah: hence he expresses the Mind.

Further, there is an ancient teaching that Abraham, Isaac and Jacob represent three aspects of an emotional relationship with G‑d: Love, Awe and Mercy respectively. Thus they collectively represent the Heart.

The Mind becomes perplexed and asks questions, while the Heart forges straight ahead, filled with passion beyond reason. At the same time the Heart often perceives existence in a very fragmented way: this it loves, that it hates. The Mind, by contrast, can perceive a unifying structure which links all.

The Tetragrammaton, the essential Divine Name, expresses the absolute unity of G‑d and the unifying principle of all existence. The lesser Names are Divine, but they express the multiplicity and diversity of Nature which G‑d created.

Moses has the quality of Mind, which both asks questions and can ultimately discern the unity of all. The Patriarchs represent the Heart, which has the ability to go forward without reservations, yet which in itself cannot achieve the highest level of unity. We, as individuals, combine these qualities. We need the enthusiasm of the Heart blended with the Mind's ability to find unity.

This explains G‑d's puzzling answer to Moses and to each of us. In order to leave our personal Egypt, we need to join and balance the Mind and the Heart: through that, as in the time of Moses, we will forge ahead, and ultimately gain freedom...3