Truths You Can Use

The Jewish holiday of Sukkot (Tabernacles) just ended. The biblical reading for the holiday contains the famous scene where Moses shatters the tablets containing the Ten Commandments.  This act emanated from his anger at his people’s worshipping of the golden calf.

broken tablets

In trying to make sense of this text, the Jewish sages asked a poignant question. What happened to the shattered tablets? Did they just remain on the edge of Mount Sinai? Of course not! They contained the handwriting of God. They could not simply be left behind.

The sages offered a profound answer. When Moses returned to the top of Mount Sinai to receive the second set of tablets, he picked up the shattered remains of the first. He placed both the new and shattered also tablets in the Ark of the Covenant, which the Israelites carried with them in the wilderness.

Why It Matters

The shattered tablets symbolized where the Israelites had been. The new set represented where they were going. They carried both sets with them on their journey.

I also see the two tablets as a metaphor for our lives. The broken and the whole live together. They both shape who we are. No life is perfect. We have our highs and lows, our moments of shattered pieces and of divine inspiration.

Together they make us a human being, created in the image of God. Together they make us holy.

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