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    Divine glory – Ki Tissa

    Hands aloft by APalko“So if there is a God, where is He?” The questioners take it for granted that God is physical and can be located somewhere, and that is by definition impossible. But wasn’t Moses himself guilty of the same mistake when he said, “Show me, I pray You, Your glory” (Ex. 33:18)?

    True, the commentators point out that “Your glory” is a respectful synonym for “You”, but that does not solve the problem, since it is specifically stated in the Midrash (Ex. R. 24) that Moses wished to see the likeness of God. But the Almighty explained that all that mortals can see is not God Himself but His goodness.

    This implies more than merely the Divine moral acts. As Maimonides points out, “The words, ‘all My goodness’ indicate that God promised to show him the whole of creation, concerning which it was stated, ‘And God saw all that He had made, and lo, it was very good’ (Gen. 1:31).”

    Maimonides goes on to explain that when he says “the whole of creation”, he does not simply mean the physical beauty of the sea, sand and sky and all the wonders of the natural world, but “the nature of all things, their relation to each other, and the way they are governed by God… The knowledge of the works of God is the knowledge of His attributes, by which He can be known” (Moreh N’vuchim 1:54).

    Hence, according to the Maimonidean approach, whatever one discovers about the way the world works provides evidence of the ways and nature of God.

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