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EXODUS XXIV. 18. 189

by Manasseh Ben Israel
EXODUS XXIV. 18. 189 in  Zoar, on the verse in Exodus, that says,  And I appeared unto Abra-ham, unto Isaac, and unto Jacob, as God Almighty; but by my name (! יהוד the Tetagrammaton) I did not make myself known to them; from which he infers that although the patriarchs were informed of, and knew the ineffable name, they withal did not attain it by prophetic spirit, but Moses, who surpassed all other prophets, did; for, as R. Judah bar Ylhay says, he saw in a mirror; which, Rabanan adds, was clear and bright. All this must be understood, as R. Meir Gabay12  expounds it, saying, that the prophetic spirit of Moses was תפארת glory,  and that of the other prophets מלכות  kingdom; which is intimated in the Holy Scripture, when it says,  Out of heaven he made thee to hear his voice,  that he might instruct thee: and upon earth he shewed thee his great fire. 13  This is sufficient for the conciliation of the verses, without entering deeper  into that work; and thus, what the elders saw was the honour or glory of God, denominated כבוד יי  glory of the Lord, which is the last of the ten sovereign emanations ( or lights), while the saying, that  no man can see God. alludes to his proper essence; as R. Bechayai also observes on the 29th chapter of Exodus. Don Isaac Abarbanel says, that prophecy was communicated to the prophets through the means of angels; and although they often say,  The word of the Lord was ( or came) unto me, & c, it means, that they gave the title of Him who sent them to the ambassadors of his will; so that Isaiahs words,  I saw the Lord, are to be understood for angels, as he declares,  Seraphim were above him, which leaves the Mosaical passage uncontradicted. Or, we may say, that the verb ראה which  we translate  to see, has two significations, according to Maimonides : 1 4  one is given to sight or visual power, and the other to intellectual comprehension ( or the minds eye), as in Ecclesi-astes ולבי ראה הרבה חכמה  ודעת  And my heart saw much wisdom andknowledge. 15  According to this, the verses are easily conciliated : since what the Lord said to  Moses,  No man can see me and live/ means, that no one can comprehend the Divine Essence ( called his face). And Isaiah does not say that he saw ( in the absolute sense of the word), but that he imagined the Lord on his sublime and exalted throne ; that is, he knew and saw with his minds eye, that the First Cause was on his throne ; which must be under-stood as the heavens, or the throne of honour, knowing the Lord was above them, as the First Cause and beginning of every thing, these he might com-prehend; for even philosophers suppose it by conjecture, while he did so by infallible revelation. QUESTION 119. Exod. 24: 18. And Moses went into the Exod. 40: 36. And Moses was not able to midst of the cloud. enter into the tent of the congregation because the cloud abode thereon, and the glory of the Lord filled the tabernacle. If God made a path for Moses in the cloud, how does the second passage say, he could not enter on account of the cloud ? 1 2 Abodat a Kodesh, b. 4, c. 22. 13 Deut. 4: 36. 14  Guide, b. I, c. 4. 15 Eccles. 1: 16. Chapter Home  | TOC  | Index t t t t

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EXODUS XXIV. 18. 189 in \\" Zoar,\\" on the verse in Exodus, that says, \\" And I appeared unto Abra-ham, unto Isaac, and unto Jacob, as God Almighty; but by my name (! יהוד the Tetagrammaton) I did not make myself known to them;\\" from which he infers that although the patriarchs were informed of, and knew the ineffable name, they withal did not attain it by prophetic spirit, but Moses, who surpassed all other prophets, did; for, as R. Judah bar Ylhay says, he saw in a mirror; which, Rabanan adds, was clear and bright. All this must be understood, as R. Meir Gabay12 expounds it, saying, that the prophetic spirit of Moses was תפארת \\" glory,\\" and that of the other prophets מלכות \\" kingdom;\\" which is intimated in the Holy Scripture, when it says, \\" Out of heaven he made thee to hear his voice, that he might instruct thee: and upon earth he shewed thee his great fire.\\" 13 This is sufficient for the conciliation of the verses, without entering deeper into that work; and thus, what the elders saw was the honour or glory of God, denominated כבוד יי \\" glory of the Lord,\\" which is the last of the ten sovereign emanations ( or lights), while the saying, that \\" no man can see God.\\" alludes to his proper essence; as R. Bechayai also observes on the 29th chapter of Exodus. Don Isaac Abarbanel says, that prophecy was communicated to the prophets through the means of angels; and although they often say, \\" The word of the Lord was ( or came) unto me,\\" & c, it means, that they gave the title of Him who sent them to the ambassadors of his will; so that Isaiah's words, \\" I saw the Lord,\\" are to be understood for angels, as he declares, \\" Seraphim were above him,\\" which leaves the Mosaical passage uncontradicted. Or, we may say, that the verb ראה which we translate \\" to see,\\" has two significations, according to Maimonides : 1 4 one is given to sight or visual power, and the other to intellectual comprehension ( or the mind's eye), as in Ecclesi-astes ולבי ראה הרבה חכמה ודעת \\" And my heart saw much wisdom and knowledge.\\" 15 According to this, the verses are easily conciliated : since what the Lord said to Moses, \\" No man can see me and live/' means, that no one can comprehend the Divine Essence ( called his face). And Isaiah does not say that he saw ( in the absolute sense of the word), but that he imagined the Lord on his sublime and exalted throne ; that is, he knew and saw with his mind's eye, that the First Cause was on his throne ; which must be under-stood as the heavens, or the throne of honour, knowing the Lord was above them, as the First Cause and beginning of every thing, these he might com-prehend; for even philosophers suppose it by conjecture, while he did so by infallible revelation. QUESTION 119. Exod. 24: 18. And Moses went into the Exod. 40: 36. And Moses was not able to midst of the cloud. enter into the tent of the congregation because the cloud abode thereon, and the glory of the Lord filled the tabernacle. If God made a path for Moses in the cloud, how does the second passage say, he could not enter on account of the cloud ? 1 2 Abodat a Kodesh, b. 4, c. 22. 13 Deut. 4: 36. 14 Guide, b. I, c. 4. 15 Eccles. 1: 16. << Chapter >> Home | TOC | Index t t t t
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