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Devarim/Deuteronomy 4:12 says: ‘ותמונה אינכם ראים’, the people perceived no shape / saw no shape.

Devarim/Deuteronomy 4:15 even states the prople should watch themselves for they did not perceived any shape / see any image.

P.s. one could also look at Shemot/Exodus 20:4 and Devarim/5:8 for example and say it teaches that the people can’t make any ‘תמונה’ of that which is in heaven.

Yet in Bamidbar/Numeri 12:8 - after telling in verse 6 that Adonai shall speak to a prophet in dreams and/or in a vision, but not so with His servant Moshe - it says: ‘ותמנה יהוה יביט’.

Did Moshe saw something others didn’t? And what does it mean when Moshe beholds the תמנה יהוה? The Chizkuni seems to state Moshe was allowed to see a visual image of the Lord, not a frontal image but a rear view (Shemot 33:23). Yet we also know that no man can see G-d and remains alive right?

So what is this תמונה of G-d that Moshe saw?

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  • Nice question. Working backwards, it would seem that we can understand that the image that Moshe saw is the personality that Hashem projects into this world. And possibly the reason it was inappropriate for the benei yisrael to see such an image is that this image can be safely shown to an individual but not to the public. – The GRAPKE Oct 11 '20 at 22:11
  • @TheGRAPKE and the reason for this would be? – Levi Oct 13 '20 at 18:33
  • It is not a chiddush that some knowledge is dangerous or undesirable, אין מוסרין רזי תורה אלא למי שלבו דואג בקרבו. Rb Mordechai Miller explained this is because the light of Torah knowledge can only mend you if you were NOT exposed to that light previous to sinning. There must always be a higher level which you have not been exposed to, in order to mend what became broken while facing the challenges of the previous level. – The GRAPKE Oct 13 '20 at 22:16

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