ON TODAY'S SITE:
Book of Exodus, Rabbi Chaim Mentz, John Haughey, A.W. Tozer, William Blake
Sometimes a phrase just strikes your heart, emotionally. Such a
one for me is God's command to Moses at the burning bush:
"Remove your shoes from your feet, for the place upon
which you stand is holy ground."
To imagine ground so holy that shoes defile it is overwhelmingly
beautiful to me. Or is it that nothing should come between man
his God? How gently Moses must have placed his naked feet
on the dirt, with reverence and humility.
But I wanted an expert opinion. So I called upon Rabbi Chaim Mentz
of Chabad of Bel Air in Southern California. His explanation of the
phrase from Exodus is on today's page. Thank you, Rabbi!
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"Moses Before the Burning Bush" Domenico Feti (ca. 1589-1623)
Moses was shepherding the sheep of Jethro, his
father-in-law, the priest of Midian; he guided the
sheep far into the wilderness, and he arrived at the
mountain of God, toward Horeb. An angel of Hashem
appeared to him in the blaze of fire from amid the bush.
He saw and behold! the bush was burning in the fire
but the bush was not consumed. Moses thought,
"I will turn aside now and look at this great sight --
why will the bush not be burned?
Hashem saw that he turned aside to see; and God
called out to him from amid the bush and said, "Moses,
Moses," and he replied, "Here I am!" He said, "Do not
come closer to here, remove your shoes from your feet,
for the place upon which you stand is holy ground."
The Stone Edition Tanach
Rabbi Chaim Mentz of Chabad of Bel Air explains the meaning
behind Hashem's command to Moses to remove his shoes.
"There are many reasons for the walking barefoot...I love the following.
Two places do we find walking barefoot:
1) At the (Burning) Bush
2) Whenever the service was done in the Holy Temple
The reason: When you are in a place of exalted position you may forget the simple people;
therefore whenever you walk without shoes, you will always feel the smallest of all pebbles.
So too, G-d wanted Moses to know that He hears the voices of the the most simple ones,
and to teach Moses, 'You are now going to be a leader.
Never forget the simplest
and smallest of all. They are just as important as the biggest.'"
(Get to know Rabbi Mentz better at: Chabad of Bel Air)
St. Catherine's Monastery (Greek Orthodox monastery at the foot of Mt. Sinai, Egypt)
The bush in this photo is purported to be a descendent of the original burning bush.
Before Israel, human history tended in the direction of one
long departure from the ways of God--an exitus a Deo, if you
will--into greater and greater malice toward one another and
distance from God and from the truth that was available. God
intervened before the chaos could be total, and with Israel,
there began the reditus ad Deum, the return to God...
It becomes clear in Exodus that God's intention is to make
Israel a holy nation. But it is interesting how the text describes
a number of things as holy, beginning with the "holy ground"
Moses is told he is standing on as he beholds the burning bush...
(Abraham Joshua) Heschel's meditation on the Sabbath indicates
how much the Hebrew Bible has to teach us about holiness. "To
the philosopher the idea of the good is the most exalted idea. But
to the Bible the idea of the good is penultimate; it cannot exist
without the holy. The good is the base, the holy the summit."
Excerpted from "Housing Heaven's Fire:
The Challenge of Holiness,"
by John C. Haughey, S. J.
Loyola Press, 2002
Holy is the way God is. To be holy he does not conform
to a standard. He is that standard. He is absolutely holy
with an infinite, incomprehensible fullness of purity that
is incapable of being other than it is. Because he is holy,
all his attributes are holy; that is, whatever we think of
as belonging to God must be thought of as holy.
A. W. Tozer (1897-1963)
American Christian pastor, author and speaker
The Last Word:
It is not because angels are holier than men or
devils that makes them angels, but because
they do not expect holiness from one
another, but from God only.
William Blake (1757-1827)
English poet, painter and printmaker
Utterly Random Bonus Quote:
I am unable to restrain external things;
but I shall restrain my own mind. What
need is there to restrain anything else?
Shantideva (8th century)
Indian Buddhist scholar
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