Up For Debate

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Up For Debate

This module contains one key debate amongst the various classical commentaries of Chumash. 

 

During Moshe’s conversation with God at the burning bush. Moshe asks God what he should answer when the Jews ask for the name of God. There are many explanations for God’s cryptic answer of “I will be what I will be” but here we will focus on two opinions about why Moshe thought this Question in the first place. Why did Moshe care about God’s name?

 

The Ibn Ezra suggests that the different names of God represent different ways God interacts with the world. Until this point in history, God had, for the most part, refrained from performing open miracles. The Ibn Ezra explains that the name of God associated with this period is El Sha-dai. The Exodus would be the first time God would directly intervene in human affairs through blatant miracles so Moshe wanted to know which new name of God corresponded to this newfound aspect of Divine intervention. The Ramban disagrees with the Ibn Ezra and instead suggests that the Exodus was to mark the true beginning of the nation of Israel’s relationship with God as the chosen people. This relationship was to be one of mutual love and affection so, like any relationship, the first step would be for the Jewish people to learn the name of the God they were to worship.