The great mystery... where is Truth?

This weeks Torah Portion, Ki Tissa, contains one of my most foundational theological narratives. Parallel to the story of the golden calf, there is a conversation between Moses and God, which seems to reflect Moses’ need to have a real, full experience of God, just as the Israelites do (although hasn't Moses seen enough?) Moses asks God to "show me your glory" (Exodus 33:18); Moses wanted to see the fullness that is God, and God refuses - no one can see so much and live.
I think this is an incredibly powerful statement for us as Jews, and one that demands humility from us in how we approach truth, and other faiths. If even Moses, our greatest leader, could not see the fullness of God, this emphasises to us that God is beyond the comprehension of any mortal. If no one can understand the Divine, how can anyone claim to have a monopoly on truth? If I can't see the wholeness of God, but only understand as much as my limited mind will allow (and trust me, it's limited!) how can I denegrate another person's truth/s.
Judaism is true for me, and is the way I have learned to understand the world and bring meaning to my life. It helps me ritually, spiritually and communally. It is my truth, even the bits I struggle with, because to be Israel is to struggle. But when it comes to Truth, I have to accept that I don't know it all (or even close!) and neither does Judaism, hence there must be truth in what others hold to be sacred and true.
Of course this becomes challenging when I respect other's truths but they don't create space for mine, but as Andrew T. Somers (no relation!) is quoted as saying "Treat every person with kindness and respect, even those who are rude to you. Remember that you show compassion to others not because of who they are but because of who you are".
Although this is read this shabbat, it is also read on Yom Kippur, and a small passage of it is repeated over and over again in the Yom Kippur liturgy Adonai, Adonai, El rachum v'chanun etc.  "Eternal, Eternal, compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, abounding in kindness, radiating truth, extending kindness, throughout the generations, forgiving iniquity, transgression, and sin.” Why do we repeat this on Yom Kippur? Perhaps part of the reason is that on Yom Kippur we return to God, but we have worked to repair our human relationships. In repairing our human relationships, we need to have the humility to acknowledge we aren't always right. So when I hear this phrase on Yom Kippur, it reminds me to have the humility to know my own limits, particularly when it come to Truth; while I feel passionately about what is good, and right, only God knows what Truth is, and She's not sharing right now!
It's not a very sophisticated theology, but it's central to me, my Judaism, and my encounters with others, so that's why this weeks portion is one of my favourites!


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