What's in a name? Clearly names played an important role to our Biblical ancestors. The names of Chava, Avraham, Yitzchak, Yaakov and his children, and Moshe, to name just a few reflect the circumstances of their birth or a vision for their role in the future. We all know that people love hearing their name called as it makes them feel important. Hence common courtesy is to address a person by their name instead of referring to "them".
This morning's parsha begins with the phrase "and you should command the people of Israel...to keep the lamp constantly burning". Is that any way for G-d to refer to Moshe Rabbeinu? In fact Moshe's name is no where to be found in Parshat Tezaveh , the only time such a phenomena exists in the chumash (exclusive of Sefer Bresheet which takes place before his birth). Why? Parshat Tezaveh details the laws regarding the garments the kohanim wore as they worked in the Beit Hamikdash . The primary role of the kohanim though, was not service in the temple (where they worked 3-4 days a year) but rather to serve as the teachers of Torah to the Jewish people. It was the descendants of Aharon, not those of Moshe who where to become the kohanim , the teachers of Torah and thereby the spiritual heirs to Moshe Rabbeinu. While the Midrash suggests that Moshe was not happy that his descendants would not be the ones to have this role he could take comfort that his Torah, Torat Moshe, with or without his name attached to it would continue. Moshe was not looking for any "credit". Let there be another messenger as long as the message gets across. Moshe was witnessing part of his role being transferred to his brother and his descendants. So as not to steal the spotlight from Aharon, Moshe "receded" into the
background while his role was being diminished. Hence the Torah makes no mention of his name. Aharon did not have to fear the shadow of his brother.
Parshat Tezaveh is usually read during the week preceding Purim. Interestingly the Megillah also is missing a very significant name, that of G-d Himself. Purim marks the period in which the direct role of G-d in history begins to recede. Prophecy has ended. The time has come for the Jewish people to be able to function despite hester panim , G-d's face being hidden. Mordechai and Esther must use their political skills to save the Jewish people. Unlike Pesach no overt miracle will come to the rescue. During the formative years of the Jewish nation we needed the hand of G-d to guide us and prophets to teach us. Purim marks the transformation of the Jewish people. It is the holiday that celebrates the acceptance of the oral law which though its rules are divine, its application is left to the discretion of the Sages of every generation. Man will have to apply the Torah without guidance from G-d.
Moshe Rabbeinu was the faithful messenger of G-d bringing His word to the world. Yet the Torah is not dependant on Moshe and is not even dependant on a "visible" G-d. But the Torah itself is eternal. Though the names of Moshe and G-d may be missing from our Biblical reading this week, their presence is not. The hand of G-d and the Torah of Moshe continues to be studied each and every day and though G-d is hidden those who look can see Him. May we be worthy to feel the presence of G-d in all that we do making all of our endeavours an implementation of the Divine plan for the betterment of the world. Shabbat Shalom!