A quandary of majesty from Parsha P’kudei
Then the cloud covered the tabernacle of meeting, and the glory of the Lord filled the tabernacle. And Moses was not able to enter the tabernacle of meeting, because the cloud rested above it, and the glory of the Lord filled the tabernacle. Exodus 40:34-35 italics mine
The word “glory” seems so inadequate to explain that daunting, manifested presence of Yahweh into which Moses could not enter.
The Cloud, the Glory and the Poet
When a word fails to adequately convey
As o’er Sinai’s mount by cloud revealed,
You in affirmation the tabernacle sealed.
But twas not the vision of cloud alone
That made so clear Your presence known.
Moses, a proven, mighty man of God,
Could not enter, where before he had trod.
A force unseen−like a mighty gate
Did mysteriously, majestically operate.
What appropriate word can English give
So that this experience one might relive?
“Glory”—the word translators confidently say
Does that rapturous moment of time convey.
“Kabowd” is the word in Hebrew we are told.
Yet that too is lacking in descriptive gold.
To the poet there is simply not one word;
Something much deeper must be stirred.
A force so tangible, yet wholly unseen,
Speaks of forces far, far from routine.
Such a force field we’ve yet to discover−
A secret not given man’s mind to uncover.
Where then does the poet need to turn−
From what source can he possibly learn?
There is but one connection to be found:
Ascend with spirit to that heavenly ground.
There in His presence is tangibly met
The Author of that invisible silhouette.
There, words still lacking the poet’s pen,
Will call him back again and again.