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    Between man & God – Va’et’channan

    letter iMoses says, “I stood between the Lord and you at that time” (Deut. 5:5).

    In what context? It was Mount Sinai, where the Israelites held back from the meeting with God. Moses had to be the go-between, conveying the Divine message to the people and giving them the assurance of Divine love and concern.

    To this interpretation of the sages (Jerusalem Talmud, Meg. 4:1) a Chassidic teacher, the Rabbi of Kovrin, adds another approach.

    The word anochi, “I”, he tells us, is the human ego. It is this which is so often the mechitzah, the barrier, between us and the Almighty. A human being with an exaggerated sense of self is hardly ever able to find the Divine.

    One who boasts, “I am the greatest”, leaves no room for God. Either God is the greatest – or I am. When I cannot understand my human limitations and cannot recognise how small a speck I am in the vast scheme of the cosmos, I squeeze God out.

    There can be only one true Anochi – the “I” of “I am the Lord your God”, not the “I” of “I am the greatest”.

    To use the imagery of the Kol Nidre service, God is the potter: I am the potsherd… a valuable, unique, useful potsherd, but a potsherd nonetheless.

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