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Exodus 33:23 – Afterwards, I saw Hashem

15 Adar 5783 – Woensdag 8 Maart 2023

Exodus 33:23

הֲסִרֹתִי֙ אֶת־כַּפִּ֔י וְרָאִ֖יתָ אֶת־אֲחֹרָ֑י וּפָנַ֖י לֹ֥א יֵרָאֽוּ׃

Then I will take away My hand and you will see My back; but My face must not be seen.

Moses wished to behold the Presence of Hashem. This is remarkable, because is it not said that HaShem spoke to Moses face to face? (Exodus 33:11). Moses spoke to HaShem and he heard His voice. (Numbers 7:89) It is for this reason that it is said than Moses was the greatest prophet. That before him even after him there will arise a prophet greater than Moses. For all the other prophets received their prophecy through a dream or a vision in which an angel of HaShem was often the mediator. This communication was often through metaphors and allegories, whereas the Words Moses heard were a direct and open revelation, without the possibility of misinterpreting things. It was also why the Torah was given to him, so that it was clear to every person, Jew and Noahide, what the Word of HaShem is.

Moses on such a high spiritual level, however, wanted more – something we should all strive for. To raise our relationship with Hashem to a higher level, to raise our awareness of Him and our knowledge of Him to a higher level. However Hashem is so big that we cannot truly perceive His Essence. He is like the sun, and if we could really see Him it would blind us. Indeed, it would threaten our free will and existence because we would be completely absorbed in Him.

Yet we hear His Presence, and if I look at myself, often afterwards. Situations can sometimes be difficult, situations we cannot understand and in which we can feel alone – without Hashem.

In my life, I went through such a period, a difficult time when I didn’t understand anything about Hashem at all. Surely, as a good Christian person, He should just answer, and actually do what I asked. And how angry I was, because He did not answer me. How wrong I was. Only afterwards did I understand why that period was so difficult. And that His silence and inaction were a blessing for me. Only then did I understand His goodness. Did I promise Him to serve Him only in a way that was pleasing to Him.
It was for me – in retrospect – to turn around to becoming Bat Noah. Though that whole process of completely letting go of Christianity and fully embracing Judaism would take 90 days. 40 Days to leave Christianity and 50 days to embrace Torah.

It is why this text is so dear to me, because we often only understand HaShem His actions after the fact. But it does make it so that in difficult times I know I can trust Him. He does not betray that trust, which I was able to experience today. A difficult day, in which I felt His peace and warmth wash over me. A day to write down in my memory.

By Angelique Sijbolts

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2 thoughts on “Exodus 33:23 – Afterwards, I saw Hashem”

  1. “It was for me – in hindsight – to turn around to become Bat Noah. Even if that whole process of completely letting go of Christianity and fully embracing Judaism would take 90 days. 40 Days to Leave Christianity and 50 Days to Embrace Judaism.”

    If you are embracing Judaism, you are in the process of conversion. Being an observant Noahide is NOT embracing Judaism – it is embracing Torah as it applies to Bnei Noach. Noahides are NOT Jewish.

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