Project Genesis

Who spoke from the Burning Bush?

Question: In Exodus 3:2 it says that an angel of G-d appeared to him in a blaze of fire from amid the bush. In verse 4, it says that G-d called him from the bush. Was the burning bush an angel or G-d?

Answer: Maimonides in the Guide of the Perplexed speaks about angels in prophetic revelation. These things are figurative descriptions, to help us understand on some level something that is really beyond our experience. Some prophets could receive prophecy more directly than others; it depended on their spiritual level. An “angel” in a vision refers to a certain level of clarity – and the Rambam speaks there about various types of angels corresponding to different levels.

So here you get your choice: R’ Avraham ibn Ezra says that “G-d” referred to in the later verse is the same as the angel in the earlier verse – a certain level of revelation. The Ramban disagrees. He says that initially there was a lower level of prophecy. Then Moshe prepared himself for a more powerful level of revelation. That’s why the later verse just says “G-d”.

Best wishes,
Michoel Reach

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