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The Torah relates (Shemos 17:11) that during the war, “When Moshe held up his hand, Yisroel prevailed; and when he let down his hand, then Amalek prevailed. But Moshe’s hands were heavy… and Aaron and Chur (who accompanied him) supported his hands.”

Rashi comments: “Because he was lax in the commandment (of waging war), and appointed another in his stead (Yehoshua), his hands became heavy.” We see then, that Moshe Rabbeinu should have gone to battle, and when he did not, was punished for his laxity.

All of the above reasons why Moshe considered himself unable to join in the actual battle (and not that G d forbid he was slothful) poses the inevitable question: Why was Moshe punished (his hands became heavy) for doing something which was seemingly so logical?

Rashi answers this question by saying that Moshe was punished for being “lax in the Mitzvah,” and not for being lax in going out to war. For since the war against Amalek was a Mitzvah, a commandment from G d, Moshe should have gone to war, and not entertained any other thoughts to the contrary, no matter how reasonable or logical.

A Mitzvah must be such that “we will obey and then we will hear;” first one does the deed without entering into any calculations. And since Moshe was lax in the Mitzvah — he entered into calculations as to what was best for the conduct of the war etc. — he was punished.     From: Shabbos Parshas Yisro, 19th Day of Shevat, 5741 (1981) at Rebbe.org (edited).

 

Rashi commenting on Genesis 17/3: And Abram fell upon his face, and God spoke with him, saying:

And Abram fell upon his face: from fear of the Shechinah, for as long as he was uncircumcised, he did not have the strength to stand when the Divine Presence stood over him, and that is what is said concerning Balaam (Num. 24:4):“who falls and his eyes are open” (Num. Rabbah 12:8). I found this in the Baraitha of Rabbi Eliezer (Pirkei d’Rabbi Eliezer ch. 29).

 

6God said, “Let there be an expanse in the midst of the water, that it may separate water from water.” 7God made the expanse, and it separated the water which was below the expanse from the water which was above the expanse. And it was so. 8God called the expanse Sky [heaven]. And there was evening and there was morning, a second day. 9God said, “Let the water below the sky be gathered into one area, that the dry land may appear.” And it was so.     Genesis 1/6-9 Tanakh JPS 1985.

 

24Yet his bow stayed taut,
And his arms were made firm
By the hands of the Mighty One of Jacob—
There, the Shepherd, the Rock of Israel—      Genesis 49/24 Tanakh JPS 1985.

 

4“Then lie on your left side, and let it bear the punishment of the House of Israel; for as many days as you lie on it you shall bear their punishment. 5For I impose upon you three hundred and ninety days, corresponding to the number of the years of their punishment; and so you shall bear the punishment for the House of Israel. 6When you have completed these, you shall lie another forty days on your right side, and bear the punishment of the House of Judah. I impose on you one day for each year.

7“Then, with bared arm, set your face toward besieged Jerusalem and prophesy against it. 8Now I put cords upon you, so that you cannot turn from side to side until you complete your days of siege.     Ezekiel 4/4-8 Tanakh JPS 1985.

 

1And He said to me, “O mortal, stand up on your feet that I may speak to you.” 2As He spoke to me, a spirit entered into me and set me upon my feet; and I heard what was being spoken to me.     Ezekiel 2/1-2 Tanakh JPS 1985.

 

14A spirit seized me and carried me away. I went in bitterness, in the fury of my spirit, while the hand of the Lord was strong upon me. 15And I came to the exile community that dwelt in Tel Abib by the Chebar Canal, and I remained where they dwelt. And for seven days I sat there stunned among them.     Ezekiel 3/14-15 Tanakh JPS 1985.

 

22Then the hand of the Lord came upon me there, and He said to me, “Arise, go out to the valley, and there I will speak with you.” 23I arose and went out to the valley, and there stood the Presence of the Lord, like the Presence that I had seen at the Chebar Canal; and I flung myself down on my face. 24And a spirit entered into me and set me upon my feet. And He spoke to me, and said to me: “Go, shut yourself up in your house.     Ezekiel 3/22-24 Tanakh JPS 1985.

 

Commentary:

I know the heaviness of the hands of Moshe and I know how Jacob’s arms were made firm by the hands of the Mighty One of Jacob. I have been in a constant state of punishment by the power of G-d since I offered my soul and self for guilt to Him as the man described in Isaiah 53. It is punishment but there is more to it than that. It also was telling Moshe that G-d was there and in charge of the battle.

The heaviness is His Presence. It is what I feel of His very essence as He would have me experience it. For a man it can feel like a punishment but there is a positive to it. It tells me after ten years that He never leaves me. G-d also Has me enveloped in His power. The same cords of His power that G-d placed on Ezekiel to confine him to his house and prevent Ezekiel from turning from one side to the other for 430 days as he bore the punishment of the House of Israel and the House of Judah for their sins.

The same heaviness that requires the person of the spirit of the Holy G-d to set Ezekiel upon his feet. The heaviness that required Moses to have the strength to stand when the Divine Presence stood over him.

The verses from Genesis associate “waters” of the unseen realm of God with the waters of the earth. Unseen waters partitioned above and below heaven. Those below heaven fill the universe and are a part of G-d’s presence. With His power these unseen waters can do anything He wills them to do. And G-d senses and can “see” the movement of every single thing and person in creation through them.

Long ago G-d took me to a heavenly room in a vision. The purpose was to learn how to bear up to the weight of His Presence and these waters that cover the earth when I was walking with Him in the cords of His power that envelop me. It can make you very nauseous until you get used to it. I could feel my body so acutely and real in that room that creation passing before the window actually made me feel carsick as the weight of His Presence and the power around me to offset it was manipulated at His will.

Think of a cardboard box that has been left in a rain or placed in a body of water. It is so light before and so heavy afterwords. The water soaks into the box through and through and retains the water even when lifted. My body is that box. Even my insides are heavy. Though G-d decides in His power how much weight I feel at any given moment with the cords of His power.

When the vision was over and I was back in the world the weight of G-d’s Presence was much easier to live with. The weight of G-d’s Presence is primarily from the waters divided below heaven that cover the earth but also from His power that flows from His Presence.

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