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    No name of Moses – T’tzavveh

    This week’s portion is the only one which takes place in Moses’ lifetime and does not mention Moses even once.

    Many commentators have suggested reasons. It is obviously not a mere coincidence that the great leader’s name is omitted, since he is obliquely referred to at the beginning of the sidra in the word attah – “you” (Ex. 27:20).

    One theory is that Moses, who wrote the Torah at God’s command, was too modest to keep introducing his own name in what he wrote, but that is no answer when we consider how often his name is present, often in the form, “And the Lord spoke to Moses saying…” If he had a problem with introducing his own name he would have dropped it on a regular basis.

    The real explanation must have a connection with the content of the sidra of this week.

    A possibility is that it has to do with the word t’tzavveh – “command (the Children of Israel…)”. We know that Moses has no problem when he is told, “Speak to the Children of Israel”. No-one can object to their leader speaking to the people. But “command” suggests giving orders, and Moses shrank from the implication that he could tell the people what to do.

    He saw himself as God’s instrument, chosen to convey the Divine message, but not to give commands. The One who gave the orders was the Almighty.

    Moses was apprehensive that the people might think he, the earthly being, was high and mighty enough to order them around.

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