Shabbat Kodesh Parashat Ki Tissa
We will read this week in Shemot 32:
וַיְהִי֙ מִֽמׇּחֳרָ֔ת וַיֹּ֤אמֶר מֹשֶׁה֙ אֶל־הָעָ֔ם אַתֶּ֥ם חֲטָאתֶ֖ם חֲטָאָ֣ה גְדֹלָ֑ה וְעַתָּה֙ אֶֽעֱלֶ֣ה אֶל־יְהֹוָ֔ה אוּלַ֥י אֲכַפְּרָ֖ה בְּעַ֥ד חַטַּאתְכֶֽם׃
The next day Moses said to the people, “You have been guilty of a great sin. Yet I will now go up to G‘d; perhaps I may win forgiveness for your sin.”
וַיָּ֧שׇׁב מֹשֶׁ֛ה אֶל־יְהֹוָ֖ה וַיֹּאמַ֑ר אָ֣נָּ֗א חָטָ֞א הָעָ֤ם הַזֶּה֙ חֲטָאָ֣ה גְדֹלָ֔ה וַיַּֽעֲשׂ֥וּ לָהֶ֖ם אֱלֹהֵ֥י זָהָֽב׃
Moses went back to G‘d and said, “Alas, this people is guilty of a great sin in making for themselves a god of gold.
וְעַתָּ֖ה אִם־תִּשָּׂ֣א חַטָּאתָ֑ם וְאִם־אַ֕יִן מְחֵ֣נִי נָ֔א מִֽסִּפְרְךָ֖ אֲשֶׁ֥ר כָּתָֽבְתָּ׃
Now, if You will forgive their sin [well and good]; but if not, erase me from the record which You have written!”
וַיֹּ֥אמֶר יְהֹוָ֖ה אֶל־מֹשֶׁ֑ה מִ֚י אֲשֶׁ֣ר חָֽטָא־לִ֔י אֶמְחֶ֖נּוּ מִסִּפְרִֽי׃
But G‘d said to Moses, “Only one who has sinned against Me will I erase from My record.
וְעַתָּ֞ה לֵ֣ךְ ׀ נְחֵ֣ה אֶת־הָעָ֗ם אֶ֤ל אֲשֶׁר־דִּבַּ֙רְתִּי֙ לָ֔ךְ הִנֵּ֥ה מַלְאָכִ֖י יֵלֵ֣ךְ לְפָנֶ֑יךָ וּבְי֣וֹם פׇּקְדִ֔י וּפָקַדְתִּ֥י עֲלֵהֶ֖ם חַטָּאתָֽם׃
Go now; lead the people where I told you. See, My messenger shall go before you. But when I make an accounting, I will bring them to account for their sins.”
Moshe Rabeinu was clear in his request. He asked G-d to forgive. He did not get an answer. All he got was a renewal of the old instruction for him (Moshe) to resume his leadership and bring the people to the Promised Land. There was no direct reference to Moshe Rabeinu’s specific request for forgiveness.
Perhaps we have to draw from this to our own interrelationships. At times, we may be able to forgive instantly for any injustice done to us. Sometimes however, it is beneficial for the relationship not to respond with an immediate “Yes”. Even if the request for forgiveness is genuine. Giving ourselves time to reflect and just going back to normal “business”, may be a safer way to put the relationship on a long term better path.
Kind regards and Shabbat Shalom
Rabbi Chaim Michael Biberfeld