(טו) וְכָל־הָעָם֩ רֹאִ֨ים אֶת־הַקּוֹלֹ֜ת וְאֶת־הַלַּפִּידִ֗ם וְאֵת֙ ק֣וֹל הַשֹּׁפָ֔ר וְאֶת־הָהָ֖ר עָשֵׁ֑ן וַיַּ֤רְא הָעָם֙ וַיָּנֻ֔עוּ וַיַּֽעַמְד֖וּ מֵֽרָחֹֽק׃ (טז) וַיֹּֽאמְרוּ֙ אֶל־מֹשֶׁ֔ה דַּבֵּר־אַתָּ֥ה עִמָּ֖נוּ וְנִשְׁמָ֑עָה וְאַל־יְדַבֵּ֥ר עִמָּ֛נוּ אֱלֹהִ֖ים פֶּן־נָמֽוּת׃ (יז) וַיֹּ֨אמֶר מֹשֶׁ֣ה אֶל־הָעָם֮ אַל־תִּירָאוּ֒ כִּ֗י לְבַֽעֲבוּר֙ נַסּ֣וֹת אֶתְכֶ֔ם בָּ֖א הָאֱלֹהִ֑ים וּבַעֲב֗וּר תִּהְיֶ֧ה יִרְאָת֛וֹ עַל־פְּנֵיכֶ֖ם לְבִלְתִּ֥י תֶחֱטָֽאוּ׃
(15) All the people witnessed the thunder and lightning, the blare of the horn and the mountain smoking; and when the people saw it, they fell back and stood at a distance. (16) “You speak to us,” they said to Moses, “and we will obey; but let not God speak to us, lest we die.” (17) Moses answered the people, “Be not afraid; for God has come only in order to test you, and in order that the fear of Him may be ever with you, so that you do not go astray.”
(ב) וַ֠יֵּרָא מַלְאַ֨ךְ יְהֹוָ֥ה אֵלָ֛יו בְּלַבַּת־אֵ֖שׁ מִתּ֣וֹךְ הַסְּנֶ֑ה וַיַּ֗רְא וְהִנֵּ֤ה הַסְּנֶה֙ בֹּעֵ֣ר בָּאֵ֔שׁ וְהַסְּנֶ֖ה אֵינֶ֥נּוּ אֻכָּֽל׃
(2) An angel of the LORD appeared to him in a blazing fire out of a bush. He gazed, and there was a bush all aflame, yet the bush was not consumed.
(טו) וַיַּ֥עַל מֹשֶׁ֖ה אֶל־הָהָ֑ר וַיְכַ֥ס הֶעָנָ֖ן אֶת־הָהָֽר׃ (טז) וַיִּשְׁכֹּ֤ן כְּבוֹד־יְהוָה֙ עַל־הַ֣ר סִינַ֔י וַיְכַסֵּ֥הוּ הֶעָנָ֖ן שֵׁ֣שֶׁת יָמִ֑ים וַיִּקְרָ֧א אֶל־מֹשֶׁ֛ה בַּיּ֥וֹם הַשְּׁבִיעִ֖י מִתּ֥וֹךְ הֶעָנָֽן׃ (יז) וּמַרְאֵה֙ כְּב֣וֹד יְהוָ֔ה כְּאֵ֥שׁ אֹכֶ֖לֶת בְּרֹ֣אשׁ הָהָ֑ר לְעֵינֵ֖י בְּנֵ֥י יִשְׂרָאֵֽל׃
(15) When Moses had ascended the mountain, the cloud covered the mountain. (16) The Presence of the LORD abode on Mount Sinai, and the cloud hid it for six days. On the seventh day He called to Moses from the midst of the cloud. (17) Now the Presence of the LORD appeared in the sight of the Israelites as a consuming fire on the top of the mountain.
Jan Nameira in Faith (2014) interviewing Michael Eigen:
JM: "A lot of therapy is about the slow recovery of faith"...... 'can you say more about how you think therapy or analysis can help? Is this something that can be taught?"
ME: Winnicot talks about X time that mother's away from baby, mother comes back, baby recovers. X plus Y time away from baby, mother comes back, baby a little more shaky but comes back OK enough. X plus Y plus Z time away from the baby, and there's a permanent alteration to the psyche. Yes, the baby comes back, but in what form? Altered. Something else. Maybe a deformity's been added. Sometimes we get reborn as monsters, sometimes we get reborn as shrunken, sometimes we get reborn as rageful, but something happens to us and we're not the same. How could we be the same? (p.118)
Michael Eigen, Ph.D., is a psychologist and psychoanalyst. He is Associate Clinical Professor of Psychology (adjunct) in the Postdoctoral Program in Psychotherapy and Psychoanalysis at New York University, and a Senior Member of the National Psychological Association for Psychoanalysis. He is the author of twenty-six books.
On the Area of Faith: Michael Eigen: "By the area of faith I mean to point to a way of
experiencing which is undertaken with one's whole being, all out, 'with one's heart, with one's soul, and with all one's might."
On the "Z Dimension"
ME "What I'm now calling the Z dimension is that dimension where there's permanent alteration. Balint (1968) talked about regressions that could be worked with and malignant regressions that can't be worked with. The latter is the Z dimension. We have in psychoanalysis subsections of the field working with the Z dimension.... Borderlines have stimulated growth of response systems to meet the Z dimension, to a certain extent. We've done that with psychosis. If someone comes into our office like, Schreber, and asks about soul murder, we know immediately , emphatically, something about soul murder and begin to find out how his soul was murdered (Eigen, 1986). It's not a foreign concept. We enter the Z dimension with this psychotic patient. We have not learnt how to do that with psychopaths and we have to. Because this is the problem of our age. If we can't work with psycopaths, the human enterprise will go down the tubes." (p119)
"a lot of therapy is about the slow recovery of faith (2014, p. 118) ... faith is the vehicle that radically opens experiencing and plays a role in building tolerance for experience ... it is germane to the fervour and possibility of existence, tension, and struggle, with roots in grace. Faith rooted in profound grace deeper than catastrophe [traumatic emotional reality], a sense that has impact on the flavor of our lives.
(ibid., p. 124)
(א) וַיַּ֣רְא הָעָ֔ם כִּֽי־בֹשֵׁ֥שׁ מֹשֶׁ֖ה לָרֶ֣דֶת מִן־הָהָ֑ר וַיִּקָּהֵ֨ל הָעָ֜ם עַֽל־אַהֲרֹ֗ן וַיֹּאמְר֤וּ אֵלָיו֙ ק֣וּם ׀ עֲשֵׂה־לָ֣נוּ אֱלֹהִ֗ים אֲשֶׁ֤ר יֵֽלְכוּ֙ לְפָנֵ֔ינוּ כִּי־זֶ֣ה ׀ מֹשֶׁ֣ה הָאִ֗ישׁ אֲשֶׁ֤ר הֶֽעֱלָ֙נוּ֙ מֵאֶ֣רֶץ מִצְרַ֔יִם לֹ֥א יָדַ֖עְנוּ מֶה־הָ֥יָה לֽוֹ׃ (ב) וַיֹּ֤אמֶר אֲלֵהֶם֙ אַהֲרֹ֔ן פָּֽרְקוּ֙ נִזְמֵ֣י הַזָּהָ֔ב אֲשֶׁר֙ בְּאָזְנֵ֣י נְשֵׁיכֶ֔ם בְּנֵיכֶ֖ם וּבְנֹתֵיכֶ֑ם וְהָבִ֖יאוּ אֵלָֽי׃
Now when the people saw that Moshe was shamefully-late in coming down from the mountain, the people assembled against Aharon and said to him: Arise, make us a god who will go before us, for this Moshe, the man who brought us up from the land of Egypt, we do not know what has become of him! Aharon said to them: Break off the gold rings that are in the ears of your wives, your sons and your daughters, and bring (them) to me.(Translation: Everett Fox, Shocken Bible)
(ג) וַיִּתְפָּֽרְקוּ֙ כָּל־הָעָ֔ם אֶת־נִזְמֵ֥י הַזָּהָ֖ב אֲשֶׁ֣ר בְּאָזְנֵיהֶ֑ם וַיָּבִ֖יאוּ אֶֽל־אַהֲרֹֽן׃ (ד) וַיִּקַּ֣ח מִיָּדָ֗ם וַיָּ֤צַר אֹתוֹ֙ בַּחֶ֔רֶט וַֽיַּעֲשֵׂ֖הוּ עֵ֣גֶל מַסֵּכָ֑ה וַיֹּ֣אמְר֔וּ אֵ֤לֶּה אֱלֹהֶ֙יךָ֙ יִשְׂרָאֵ֔ל אֲשֶׁ֥ר הֶעֱל֖וּךָ מֵאֶ֥רֶץ מִצְרָֽיִם׃ (ה) וַיַּ֣רְא אַהֲרֹ֔ן וַיִּ֥בֶן מִזְבֵּ֖חַ לְפָנָ֑יו וַיִּקְרָ֤א אַֽהֲרֹן֙ וַיֹּאמַ֔ר חַ֥ג לַיהוָ֖ה מָחָֽר׃ (ו) וַיַּשְׁכִּ֙ימוּ֙ מִֽמָּחֳרָ֔ת וַיַּעֲל֣וּ עֹלֹ֔ת וַיַּגִּ֖שׁוּ שְׁלָמִ֑ים וַיֵּ֤שֶׁב הָעָם֙ לֶֽאֱכֹ֣ל וְשָׁת֔וֹ וַיָּקֻ֖מוּ לְצַחֵֽק׃ (פ)
All the people broke off the gold rings that were in their ears, and brought (them) to Aharon. He took (them) from their hand, fashioned it with a graving-tool, and made it into a molten calf. Then they said: This is your God, O Israel, who brought you up from the land of Egypt! When Aharon saw (this), he built a slaughter-site before it, and Aharon called out and said: Tomorrow is a festival to YHVH! They (started) early on the morrow, offered offerings-up and brought shalom-offerings; the people sat down to eat and drink and proceeded to revel. (Translation: Everett Fox, Shocken Bible)
THE OTHER SIDE OF THE STORY
by Rachel Barenblat-- The Velveteen Rabbi
Already so many changes.
Our long column of refugees
snaking into the wilderness.
Through the sandal-sucking mud
where the waters had been.
Their men and horses consumed.
And then that Voice
speaking directly into us,
reverberating in our chests...!
But Moshe ascended by himself
into the sapphire sky
and he didn't come back.
Of course we asked Aharon
to make something to remind us
we weren't as alone as we felt.
"Bion's Concept of Containment:, in Psychoanalytic Dialogues (Vol, 8, No. 5, 1998)
The Desire for Self-Creation, Bion
The ontological protest of subjectivity is related to Bion's notion of the hatred of reality. Bion (1967) sees the most defining characteristic of human life in the necessity to bear states of non-saturation of the absence of the desired object. The crucial factor that determines whether the individual stays healthy is his ability to envisage the absent without mental collapse. The collapse for Bion is the transformation of absence into a bad presence (i.e. the inability to bear the pain of frustration).
Bion (1970) would characterize the phenomena of the ontological protest of subjectivity as belonging to the psychotic aspect of the personality. His notion of the hatred of reality touches on the phenomenon I am trying to address. He showed that there is often a level of the personality in which reality per se and the psyche's ability to perceive reality are being destroyed in fantasy. The psychotic mechanism tries to destroy the possibility of linking elements of psychic and physical life in order to avoid the suffering of pain.
The ability to think is equated by Bion with the capacity to contain the pain of frustration. Learning from experience is possible only when the psyche is capable of accepting the absence of the desired object. If the psyche cannot do so because of excessive envy and hatred, the inner space that could contain thought collapses into the frantic attempt to excrete the unbearable.
Wilfred Ruprecht Bion DSO (/biːˈɒn/; 8 September 1897 – 8 November 1979) was an influential English psychoanalyst, who became president of the British Psychoanalytical Society from 1962 to 1965. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wilfred_Bion
Read the text below about God wanting to annihilate God's people.
Ask yourselves the following questions:
1. Why do you think God wants to destroy God's people?
2. How does Moses intervene? How does he help contain God's rage and despair?
3. If you have time, read the text below about Moses' shattering the tablets? What do you think happened to Moses' containment?
4. How do these texts relate to the psychoanalytic concepts we've been exploring?
(ז) וַיְדַבֵּ֥ר יְהוָ֖ה אֶל־מֹשֶׁ֑ה לֶךְ־רֵ֕ד כִּ֚י שִׁחֵ֣ת עַמְּךָ֔ אֲשֶׁ֥ר הֶעֱלֵ֖יתָ מֵאֶ֥רֶץ מִצְרָֽיִם׃ (ח) סָ֣רוּ מַהֵ֗ר מִן־הַדֶּ֙רֶךְ֙ אֲשֶׁ֣ר צִוִּיתִ֔ם עָשׂ֣וּ לָהֶ֔ם עֵ֖גֶל מַסֵּכָ֑ה וַיִּשְׁתַּֽחֲווּ־לוֹ֙ וַיִּזְבְּחוּ־ל֔וֹ וַיֹּ֣אמְר֔וּ אֵ֤לֶּה אֱלֹהֶ֙יךָ֙ יִשְׂרָאֵ֔ל אֲשֶׁ֥ר הֶֽעֱל֖וּךָ מֵאֶ֥רֶץ מִצְרָֽיִם׃ (ט) וַיֹּ֥אמֶר יְהוָ֖ה אֶל־מֹשֶׁ֑ה רָאִ֙יתִי֙ אֶת־הָעָ֣ם הַזֶּ֔ה וְהִנֵּ֥ה עַם־קְשֵׁה־עֹ֖רֶף הֽוּא׃ (י) וְעַתָּה֙ הַנִּ֣יחָה לִּ֔י וְיִֽחַר־אַפִּ֥י בָהֶ֖ם וַאֲכַלֵּ֑ם וְאֶֽעֱשֶׂ֥ה אוֹתְךָ֖ לְג֥וֹי גָּדֽוֹל׃ (יא) וַיְחַ֣ל מֹשֶׁ֔ה אֶת־פְּנֵ֖י יְהוָ֣ה אֱלֹהָ֑יו וַיֹּ֗אמֶר לָמָ֤ה יְהוָה֙ יֶחֱרֶ֤ה אַפְּךָ֙ בְּעַמֶּ֔ךָ אֲשֶׁ֤ר הוֹצֵ֙אתָ֙ מֵאֶ֣רֶץ מִצְרַ֔יִם בְּכֹ֥חַ גָּד֖וֹל וּבְיָ֥ד חֲזָקָֽה׃ (יב) לָמָּה֩ יֹאמְר֨וּ מִצְרַ֜יִם לֵאמֹ֗ר בְּרָעָ֤ה הֽוֹצִיאָם֙ לַהֲרֹ֤ג אֹתָם֙ בֶּֽהָרִ֔ים וּ֨לְכַלֹּתָ֔ם מֵעַ֖ל פְּנֵ֣י הָֽאֲדָמָ֑ה שׁ֚וּב מֵחֲר֣וֹן אַפֶּ֔ךָ וְהִנָּחֵ֥ם עַל־הָרָעָ֖ה לְעַמֶּֽךָ׃ (יג) זְכֹ֡ר לְאַבְרָהָם֩ לְיִצְחָ֨ק וּלְיִשְׂרָאֵ֜ל עֲבָדֶ֗יךָ אֲשֶׁ֨ר נִשְׁבַּ֣עְתָּ לָהֶם֮ בָּךְ֒ וַתְּדַבֵּ֣ר אֲלֵהֶ֔ם אַרְבֶּה֙ אֶֽת־זַרְעֲכֶ֔ם כְּכוֹכְבֵ֖י הַשָּׁמָ֑יִם וְכָל־הָאָ֨רֶץ הַזֹּ֜את אֲשֶׁ֣ר אָמַ֗רְתִּי אֶתֵּן֙ לְזַרְעֲכֶ֔ם וְנָחֲל֖וּ לְעֹלָֽם׃ (יד) וַיִּנָּ֖חֶם יְהוָ֑ה עַל־הָ֣רָעָ֔ה אֲשֶׁ֥ר דִּבֶּ֖ר לַעֲשׂ֥וֹת לְעַמּֽוֹ׃ (פ)
(7) The LORD spoke to Moses, “Hurry down, for your people, whom you brought out of the land of Egypt, have acted basely. (8) They have been quick to turn aside from the way that I enjoined upon them. They have made themselves a molten calf and bowed low to it and sacrificed to it, saying: ‘This is your god, O Israel, who brought you out of the land of Egypt!’” (9) The LORD further said to Moses, “I see that this is a stiffnecked people. (10) Now, let Me be, that My anger may blaze forth against them and that I may destroy them, and make of you a great nation.” (11) But Moses implored the LORD his God, saying, “Let not Your anger, O Lord, blaze forth against Your people, whom You delivered from the land of Egypt with great power and with a mighty hand. (12) Let not the Egyptians say, ‘It was with evil intent that He delivered them, only to kill them off in the mountains and annihilate them from the face of the earth.’ Turn from Your blazing anger, and renounce the plan to punish Your people. (13) Remember Your servants, Abraham, Isaac, and Israel, how You swore to them by Your Self and said to them: I will make your offspring as numerous as the stars of heaven, and I will give to your offspring this whole land of which I spoke, to possess forever.” (14) And the LORD renounced the punishment He had planned to bring upon His people.
(יד) וַיִּנָּ֖חֶם יְהוָ֑ה עַל־הָ֣רָעָ֔ה אֲשֶׁ֥ר דִּבֶּ֖ר לַעֲשׂ֥וֹת לְעַמּֽוֹ׃ (פ) (טו) וַיִּ֜פֶן וַיֵּ֤רֶד מֹשֶׁה֙ מִן־הָהָ֔ר וּשְׁנֵ֛י לֻחֹ֥ת הָעֵדֻ֖ת בְּיָד֑וֹ לֻחֹ֗ת כְּתֻבִים֙ מִשְּׁנֵ֣י עֶבְרֵיהֶ֔ם מִזֶּ֥ה וּמִזֶּ֖ה הֵ֥ם כְּתֻבִֽים׃ (טז) וְהַ֨לֻּחֹ֔ת מַעֲשֵׂ֥ה אֱלֹהִ֖ים הֵ֑מָּה וְהַמִּכְתָּ֗ב מִכְתַּ֤ב אֱלֹהִים֙ ה֔וּא חָר֖וּת עַל־הַלֻּחֹֽת׃ (יז) וַיִּשְׁמַ֧ע יְהוֹשֻׁ֛עַ אֶת־ק֥וֹל הָעָ֖ם בְּרֵעֹ֑ה וַיֹּ֙אמֶר֙ אֶל־מֹשֶׁ֔ה ק֥וֹל מִלְחָמָ֖ה בַּֽמַּחֲנֶה׃ (יח) וַיֹּ֗אמֶר אֵ֥ין קוֹל֙ עֲנ֣וֹת גְּבוּרָ֔ה וְאֵ֥ין ק֖וֹל עֲנ֣וֹת חֲלוּשָׁ֑ה ק֣וֹל עַנּ֔וֹת אָנֹכִ֖י שֹׁמֵֽעַ׃ (יט) וַֽיְהִ֗י כַּאֲשֶׁ֤ר קָרַב֙ אֶל־הַֽמַּחֲנֶ֔ה וַיַּ֥רְא אֶת־הָעֵ֖גֶל וּמְחֹלֹ֑ת וַיִּֽחַר־אַ֣ף מֹשֶׁ֗ה וַיַּשְׁלֵ֤ךְ מידו [מִיָּדָיו֙] אֶת־הַלֻּחֹ֔ת וַיְשַׁבֵּ֥ר אֹתָ֖ם תַּ֥חַת הָהָֽר׃
(14) And the LORD renounced the punishment He had planned to bring upon His people. (15) Thereupon Moses turned and went down from the mountain bearing the two tablets of the Pact, tablets inscribed on both their surfaces: they were inscribed on the one side and on the other. (16) The tablets were God’s work, and the writing was God’s writing, incised upon the tablets. (17) When Joshua heard the sound of the people in its boisterousness, he said to Moses, “There is a cry of war in the camp.” (18) But he answered, “It is not the sound of the tune of triumph, Or the sound of the tune of defeat; It is the sound of song that I hear!” (19) As soon as Moses came near the camp and saw the calf and the dancing, he became enraged; and he hurled the tablets from his hands and shattered them at the foot of the mountain.
Midrash Avot DeRabi Natan chapter 2
He looked at them and saw that the words had flown out of them. He said, “How can I give the Jewish people the Luchot with no substance? Rather, I will grab them and break them.”
The Value of the Shattered Tablets.
Rashi: For he was moved to smash the Tablets before their very eyes, as it is written (above, Deut. 9:17), "smashing them before your eyes," and the Holy One, blessed be He, was of like mind with him, for it is written (Ex. 34:1), "which you shattered"—the more power to you (Yasher Koach!)
Talmud Tractate Bava Batra 14b
Rav Huna said… the [full] Luchot and the broken Luchot lay [side by side] in the Aron (Holy Ark).
Golden Calf, Ehud Banai's lyrics
Lyrics to Ehud Banai's עגל הזהב (Golden Calf)
We are here, in the heart of the desert,
Thirsty for living water
You're on top of the mountain
Above the clouds
There is no sign
So many days
In a closed circuit we circle
Around the Golden Calf.
There's no one to hit the rock
Who will give direction?
In the darkness fighting over every crumb
Around the Golden Calf
He isn't coming down from the mountain top
He isn't coming down to the people
They break into a crazy dance
Dancing around the Golden Calf
Around the Golden Calf
Begging it: “Please don't leave us now; Be for us as a father!”
An abandoned flock, dancing around it
Calling to it in vain
Golden Calf Golden Calf