Parashat Ki Tissa

Veiling And Unveiling

Moses was sensitive to the needs of the people, changing his appearance in order to enhance their ability to communicate with him.

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We are all aware of the many stories of great sages who went out of their way to appear "normal," so as to draw Jews closer to them and to Torah. The Talmud teaches that even the Torah uses colloquial speech so that a broader audience of Jews will understand and follow halakhah (Jewish law).

Second, Moses removed his veil when teaching Torah. When a worthy student shows interest, a teacher must expose the student to the full range and depth and beauty of Torah. This is also the way of Hashem--as evident on Mount Sinai--when He taught Torah to Klal Yisroel (the congregation of Israel) with the full force of the Shechinah amidst fire, plumes of smoke, lightning and thunder!

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Rabbi Aaron D. Mehlman

Rabbi Aaron D. Mehlman is rabbi of Congregation Ohav Sholom in New York City.