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Moses Was Not Of This World

Topic: Master Kabbalists & Their Writings | Posted:March 16, 2016

Before the Creator calls to Moses, although he received the message about the Mishkan (tabernacle) and directed the Israelites and architects in its building, the only thing he did physically in its erection was to lift the walls; he, himself, did not participate in the giving of money for it, or the building of it.

So, the kabbalists ask why he didn’t give or do anything. And the answer’s really an amazing thing. Moses thought, and felt, that what any one of the Israelites could do or give would be more powerful than anything he could do or give. Therefore, he sat in his tent and didn’t do anything. Rashi, the great kabbalist and commentator, says that before Moses spoke or acted, he always waited to see if the Creator was going to tell him to do it; he was so unbelievably humble that he never acted unless told. So, Moses thought that if he could do anything positive there, the Creator would tell him, and in the meantime, his thought was that everybody else out there could do it better than he could.

And if you think about that for a moment, it’s truly unbelievable. When we talk about the humility of Moses, we have to realize that it is not of our world. The reason Moses did not give any money or assist in the building of the Mishkan was because when he looked at himself, and he looked at the important work in the building of the Mishkan, he said that everybody else out there could do it better than he could, and that if the Creator wanted him to do something, then He would tell him.

There’s a famous section in the prayer of the great kabbalist Rav Elimelech of Lizhensk, and Rav Ashlag speaks about this also, which says that a person is meant to come to a place where he sees everybody as being more elevated than he or she is. And yes, it’s something we can listen to or hear, but to live it is so far beyond where any of us are. But that’s where Moses was. Moses believed that every single one of the Israelites’ money would be better than his money, and their work would be better than his work; that’s why he sat in his tent and did not participate.

So, that explains why Moses didn’t get up to give or do anything. But the question that the kabbalists then ask is: Why didn’t the Creator ask Moses to give or assist in the building of the Mishkan?

To answer this question, there’s a secret from the Maharal, the great kabbalist of Prague, who explains, first, why Moses did not find a wife from the Israelites to marry. We know that a wife, or a mate, is meant to be a support, an equal to the soul of the man; the man should marry a woman in his soul range, and the woman should marry a man in her soul range. And the Maharal, who has a very beautiful way of writing, explains that the soul of Moses was greater than the souls of all the Israelites, and that if we gathered all the levels of souls that existed amongst the Israelites - including Moses’ father, mother, brother Aaron, and sister Miriam - and compared them to the soul of Moses, Moses’ soul was much greater.

Therefore, because none of the souls of the Israelites were in his soul range and his soul was greater than all the souls of the Israelites put together, there was not one soul in the Israelites that he could find to marry that would be a balance to the greatness of his soul; it was impossible for Moses to find, amongst the Israelites, a soul that was as powerful and elevated as his. As such, Moses had to find a soul that was not from amongst the Israelites, and he went to Jethro, a priest of Midian and the lead idol-worshipper of that group, and married his daughter, Tzipporah.

When Tzipporah married Moses, she received a new soul, because she left the ways of the idol-worshippers, started on a new path towards the Light of the Creator, and in that process received a new soul - a soul that could come from a place beyond this world; and the soul that was going to come to the wife of Moses could not have been a soul that was in this world already. When Tzipporah chose to leave the ways of the idol-worshippers, she merited receiving a new soul that was not of this world, a soul that could compare to the soul of Moses.

Moses was not of this world, and therefore, he did not marry somebody of this world. This is also why the Creator did not ask Moses to partake in the building of the Mishkan. The purpose of the Mishkan was to enable the Israelites, and the rest of the world, to receive the Light of the Creator after they’ve fallen, after they’re in the physicality of this world. But Moses was not of this world, so the Mishkan was beneath him.

Why wasn’t Moses called to assist or partake in the building of the Mishkan? Because his soul was beyond what the Light of the Mishkan is. Yes, we talk about how tremendous that Light of the Mishkan is, and how it is the source of Light for the entire World… but that’s for us, who are part of this world. Moses’ soul was not. The Maharal tells us, “Understand these things, because they are tremendous;” hopefully, we can begin to understand and have some concept of what the soul of Moses truly was.

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