Big Brother Judah’s word on recovery drawn from this weeks Torah portion:
“…The bush was burning in the fire, but the bush was not consumed. And Moses said: Let me move away from here and see this great sight…”—Exodus 3:2-3.
The first portion of the Book of Exodus describes Moses’ ascendance as the leader and redeemer of his people. His first experience of being openly called upon by G‑d takes place at the burning bush. When Moses beholds this miracle, he declares, “Let me move away from here and see this great sight…”
In simple terms, Moses physically moved from the place where he was standing in order to gain a better view of the burning bush. On a deeper level, the verse describes a shift in spiritual perspective as well. If one wishes to behold the divine, he must be ready to move from his current stance and assume a new way of looking at things. One must never be so complacent as to refuse to budge from his present view. Thus, upon encountering the divine, even a righteous and highly refined individual such as Moses saw fit to move to a new vantage point. As the ancient legal maxim goes, “Man is always partial to himself.” Therefore, we must always “move away from here”—from the inherent subjectivity of where we stand and try to see things from an angle outside of our present stance.
Even a highly refined individual such as Moses saw fit to move to a new vantage pointFor the alcoholic and addict, the need to look at things from a new perspective is essential to recovery. The first admission of powerlessness requires an abandonment of our old view of ourselves.
Later, our personal stock-taking and amends to others force us to look upon our relationships in a completely new light, swallowing some truths we may never before have even considered. As we progress, we come to see how our perspective is almost always skewed by self-justification. We learn to humble ourselves and seek the objective opinion of a sponsor. In other words, we learn not to rely solely on our own view.
In this light, G‑d‘s decision to reveal Himself to Moses in a thorn bush is also significant. G‑d could have chosen a more majestic tree, the towering cedar perhaps. But G‑d desired to show Himself to Moses in the midst of a small and scraggly shrub. A lofty ego cannot serve as a resting place for the divine. G‑d reveals Himself in that which is humble. Reacting in kind, Moses showed humility in abruptly surrendering his stance and moving to a new point of view. Pride tells us we can dictate terms on which G‑d is to come to us; that He should meet us where we stand. But with such inflexibility we only deprive ourselves of communion with G‑d. At last, we find that our view of G‑d is much better when we are willing to “move away from here,” to step away from our own egos and see things with new eyes.