Take the 2-minute tour ×
Mi Yodeya is a question and answer site for those who base their lives on Jewish law and tradition and anyone interested in learning more. It's 100% free, no registration required.

The Torah relates that Moshe donned a מסוה to hid the luminescence of his face, when addressing the community. What was the nature/appearance of this "masveh"?

share|improve this question

1 Answer 1

up vote 3 down vote accepted

Excerpts from http://www.lss.org/learning.php?pg=Divrei_Torah&articleId=268 :

  • etymology favors “veil.” The root of masveh means clothing or covering, as in Yaakov’s blessing of Yehudah, “He will launder his garments in wine and his robe (sutoh) in the blood of grapes” (Gen. 49:11). The same root appears in “Sivan,” the month when vegetation covers the ground (according to the Hirsch/Clark dictionary). In short, the masveh simply covers the face and does not reimagine or recast it.
  • Saadia explains that the masveh was intended to make disputants less afraid to approach Moshe for assistance.
  • Ibn Ezra, emphasizing guidance rather than fear, observed that Moshe did not wear the masveh when teaching. Moshe wanted the people to see the radiance only when he spoke words of Torah.
  • Daat Mikra says that Moshe covered his face out of modesty. Moshe was not comfortable showing publicly that the radiance of the shechinah (or Divine Presence) was upon him.
share|improve this answer
The question seems to be asking what exactly the veil was, not the reasons for wearing it. –  user1292 Mar 12 '12 at 21:18
@mochin that is the thrust, but they are related; the function informs the form. –  yitznewton Mar 13 '12 at 10:07

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.