Let’s put this in a more here and now frame of reference, complete with today’s slang. This week, we learn that Moses has a meltdown. He looks around, and the people are worshiping a Golden Calf? What the heck. Hello? Did anyone hear what Moses is saying?
He is trying to be a spokesperson for G_d, and people are just being blind. They have a contract with G_d. So, Moses is like “Oh no you din’t” and is trying to figure out how to get their attention. It does not matter what era it is, we will always find “our time” to be noisy with distractions, temptations and information that may or may not be wrong. Anyway, Moses is furious and needs to keep his job as spokesperson, and he breaks the tablets. OK finally, that gets the crowds attention. But what does this really mean? What symbols can we see here?
I see a few. First, the tablets are like a contract. The contract literally is broken, but the contract spirit is not. We are like the tablets. We may have hard times, and break, and like Moses, even with the best intentions we may fly off the handle, but our spirit is intact, and as long as we look inward, we can heal.
Also, we learn here about having dedication and passion. One really doesn’t get mad unless they have a vested interest or passion. Think about it. If you really don’t care about a job and don’t need the money, do you care if you get fired? No. You probably are not putting your full self into the job either. But if you love a job and feel wrongfully fired or laid off, you probably have emotion brewing, because you felt you put your all into it and you felt it was a part of you. So, when you see Moses with this action, it teaches that a little passion can go a long way. If you love what you do, if you love who you are, if you even try to stand by your beliefs, you’ll probably fare well in life, because your emotion is a result of your inner work, your passion.
Having a passion for Torah and the lessons within is the same. It may or may not always bring emotions upon first read, but if you start to look for the lessons, and how they represent your life you start to feel emotion; the Torah lives within you, it is a part of you. Like the tablets, there may be areas that are broken, but the spirit, the passion, lives.
A question to ask yourself: When is the tablet of your life, beyond the commandments but how you live your entire life, sometimes broken but still very much alive and intact? What keeps it intact?
By Michele Paiva