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    His name is omitted – T’tzavveh

    mosheThis is the only sidra from the beginning of Sh’mot to the end of D’varim in which Moses is not mentioned.

    The opening word, v’attah, “and you”, clearly refers to him, but his actual name is totally absent.

    There seems to be a conspiracy of silence. In the very week of his Yahrzeit, 7 Adar, his name is omitted from the Torah reading; at the time of his death, the text fails to identify his burial place; and in the Haggadah, where one would expect a generous vote of thanks for his life’s work, Moses’ name is not mentioned at all apart from one incidental scriptural verse.

    It cannot be that we are unaware of his greatness. After all, tradition calls him Moshe Rabbenu, Moses Our Teacher, and Maimonides says he is the chief of the prophets.

    But what our sages wanted to avoid was the development of a Moses cult, giving him almost iconic status. The leader was great, but the cause was greater. The teacher was important, but the lesson was more important.

    Judaism, for all the debt it owes Moses, was never called Mosaism – except by those who did not fully understand.

    God could have chosen anyone else to mould Israel into a people and teach them His word. Without Moses we could, at least theoretically, still have Judaism.

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