See Your Presence, Please

See Your Presence, Please in Hebrew
Hareini na et k’vodecha (Exodus 33:18) (Literal translation: “Let me behold Your Presence”)
Let me see please, Your Presence, see Your Honor

For most of the Book of Exodus, Moses is engaging with a Presence, God, an entity, a “something” that he has no idea how to understand. He asks for a name and gets “I am that I am.” He asks to see God’s presence and the answer comes in Exodus 33:19-20:

I will make all My goodness pass before you,
and I will proclaim before you the name Lord,
and the grace that I grant and the compassion that I show.
But you cannot see My face, for man cannot see Me and live.
There is a place near Me. Station yourself on the rock and
as My Presence passes by, I will put you in the cleft of the rock and
shield you with My hand until I have passed by.
Then I will take My hand away and you will see My back;
but My face must not be seen.

There can be a great desire to know and to see this intangible Creator. This yearning is built into the breathe of all life. For to know our Source is to know ourselves. This urge is great and so this chant emerged from this deep desire. Later in the same chapter we learn how to know God — namely through the soul traits called the 13 attributes of God (such as compassion, grace, patience, kindness, faithfulness, and forgiveness). When we are in pain and in need for God’s Presence or aspire to elevate our connection from a place of joy and love, this chant offers a pathway. Perhaps by chanting these words, we sharpen our eyesight to see God and to know God’s presence more intimately and to realize God’s presence is often right in front of us.


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